- a raised area, often having a stepped or sloping floor, in a theater, church, or other public building to accommodate spectators, exhibits, etc.
- the uppermost of such areas in a theater, usually containing the cheapest seats.
- the occupants of such an area in a theater.
- the general public, especially when regarded as having popular or uncultivated tastes.
- any group of spectators or observers, as at a golf match, a Congressional session, etc.
- a room, series of rooms, or building devoted to the exhibition and often the sale of works of art.
- a long covered area, narrow and open at one or both sides, used especially as a walk or corridor.
- Chiefly South Atlantic States. a long porch or portico; veranda.
- a long, relatively narrow room, especially one for public use.
- a corridor, especially one having architectural importance through its scale or decorative treatment.
- a raised, balconylike platform or passageway running along the exterior wall of a building inside or outside.
- a large room or building used for photography, target practice, or other special purposes: a shooting gallery.
- a collection of art for exhibition.
- Theater. a narrow, raised platform located beyond the acting area, used by stagehands or technicians to stand on when working.
- Nautical. a projecting balcony or structure on the quarter or stern of a vessel.
- Furniture. an ornamental railing or cresting surrounding the top of a table, stand, desk, etc.
- Mining. a level or drift.
- a small tunnel in a dam, mine, or rock, for various purposes, as inspection or drainage.
- a passageway made by an animal.
- Fortification Obsolete. an underground or covered passage to another part of a fortified position.
- play to the gallery, to attempt to appeal to the popular taste, as opposed to a more refined or esoteric taste: Movies, though still playing mainly to the gallery, have taken their place as a significant art form.
Origin of gallery
- a room or building for exhibiting works of art
- a covered passageway open on one side or on both sidesSee also colonnade (def. 1)
- a balcony running along or around the inside wall of a church, hall, etc
- a covered balcony, sometimes with columns on the outside
- an upper floor that projects from the rear over the main floor and contains the cheapest seats
- the seats there
- the audience seated there
- a long narrow room, esp one used for a specific purposea shooting gallery
- mainly US a building or room where articles are sold at auction
- an underground passage, as in a mine, the burrow of an animal, etc
- theatre a narrow raised platform at the side or along the back of the stage for the use of technicians and stagehands
- (in a TV studio) a glass-fronted soundproof room high up to one side of the studio looking into it. One gallery is used by the director and an assistant and one is for lighting, etc
- nautical a balcony or platform at the quarter or stern of a ship, sometimes used as a gun emplacement
- a small ornamental metal or wooden balustrade or railing on a piece of furniture, esp one surrounding the top of a desk, table, etc
- any group of spectators, as at a golf match
- play to the gallery to try to gain popular favour, esp by crude appeals
Word Origin and History for play to the gallery
c.1500, from Middle French galerie "a long portico" (14c.), from Medieval Latin galeria, of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of galilea "church porch," which is probably from Latin Galilaea "Galilee," the northernmost region of Palestine (see Galilee); church porches sometimes were so called from being at the far end of the church.
Super altare Beatæ Mariæ in occidentali porte ejusdem ecclesiæ quæ Galilæ a vocatur. [c.1186 charter in "Durham Cathedral"]
Sense of "building to house art" first recorded 1590s; that of "people who occupy a (theater) gallery" (contrasted with "gentlemen of the pit") first by Lovelace, 1640s, hence to play to the gallery (1867).
play to the gallery
To direct a performance toward less sophisticated tastes; by extension, to attempt to gain approval by crude or obvious means: “The cast of the play was a decidedly mixed bag of youthful method actors and old hams who played to the gallery.”
Idioms and Phrases with play to the gallery
play to the gallery
Appeal to spectators for maximum approval, as in He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery. In this term gallery refers to the cheapest seats in a British theater and hence the least sophisticated audience. [Late 1800s]