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amphitheater

or am·phi·the·a·tre

[am-fuh-thee-uh-ter, -theeuh-ter]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. an oval or round building with tiers of seats around a central open area, as those used in ancient Rome for gladiatorial contests.
  2. any similar place for public contests, games, performances, exhibitions, etc.; an arena, stadium, or auditorium.
  3. a room having tiers of seats arranged around a central area, in which students and other observers can view surgery, hear lectures, etc.
  4. British.
    1. the first section of seats in the gallery of a theater.
    2. a designated section of seats in any part of a theater.
  5. a level area of oval or circular shape surrounded by rising ground.

Origin of amphitheater

1540–50; < Latin amphitheātrum < Greek amphithéātron. See amphi-, theater
Related formsam·phi·the·at·ric [am-fuh-thee-a-trik] /ˌæm fə θiˈæ trɪk/, am·phi·the·at·ri·cal, adjectiveam·phi·the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amphitheatre

Historical Examples

  • It is the chief town of Somersetshire, and is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills.

    England, Picturesque and Descriptive

    Joel Cook

  • The amphitheatre of hills is terraced with olive-orchards and vineyards.

  • After dinner I dressed and took a place in the amphitheatre of the theatre.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • On the day appointed for their execution, they were led to the amphitheatre.

  • We all sat in a row, on steps, as in an amphitheatre, but in straight lines.

    Memoirs

    Charles Godfrey Leland


British Dictionary definitions for amphitheatre

amphitheatre

US amphitheater

noun
  1. a building, usually circular or oval, in which tiers of seats rise from a central open arena, as in those of ancient Rome
  2. a place where contests are held; arena
  3. any level circular area of ground surrounded by higher ground
    1. the first tier of seats in the gallery of a theatre
    2. any similarly designated seating area in a theatre
  4. a lecture room in which seats are tiered away from a central area
Derived Formsamphitheatric (ˌæmfɪθɪˈætrɪk) or amphitheatrical, adjectiveamphitheatrically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for amphitheatre

n.

chiefly British English spelling of amphitheater. See -er.

amphitheater

n.

late 14c., from Latin amphitheatrum, from Greek amphitheatron "double theater, amphitheater," neuter of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi- "on both sides" (see amphi-) + theatron "theater" (see theater). Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphi-theater.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper