- a building, part of a building, or outdoor area for housing dramatic presentations, stage entertainments, or motion-picture shows.
- the audience at a theatrical or motion-picture performance: The theater wept.
- a theatrical or acting company.
- a room or hall, fitted with tiers of seats rising like steps, used for lectures, surgical demonstrations, etc.: Students crowded into the operating theater.
- the theater, dramatic performances as a branch of art; the drama: an actress devoted to the theater.
- dramatic works collectively, as of literature, a nation, or an author (often preceded by the): the theater of Ibsen.
- the quality or effectiveness of dramatic performance: good theater; bad theater; pure theater.
- a place of action; field of operations.
- a natural formation of land rising by steps or gradations.
Origin of theater
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for theater
His surprise marriage to theater director Sophie Hunter may have broken hearts, but the squeals of delight were even louder.All Your Internet Boyfriends Are Taken: Gosling, Cumberbatch, and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt
January 3, 2015
Now hackers are threatening to bomb any theater that shows it.Six Must-Read Stories About the Sony Hacks, Congo’s Forgotten Colonial Getaway and Another Woman’s Story of U-VA
The Daily Beast
December 20, 2014
The theater manager called security, and three moonlighting off-duty police deputies arrived.How the U.S. Justice System Screws Prisoners with Disabilities
December 16, 2014
After the show, Executive Chef Michael Franey explained the process by which the theater selects its menu.Dinner at Nitehawk Cinema: ‘Christmas Vacation’ and a Beer in a Pear Tree
December 12, 2014
After such a barnstorming stage debut, and while “my heart is in theater,” screen acting intrigues him.The Brit Who Stormed Broadway
December 7, 2014
He also went to the theater, although he thought it unworthy of a Roman to be an actor.Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne
You never go to the theater on Sunday in England—you are all pietistisch.
With which he turned into the theater, and I followed thoughtfully.
I had never been in a theater in my life, and the name was but a name to me.
I am glad you will get to see one, as the theater closes after to-night.
Word Origin and History for theater
late 14c., "open air place in ancient times for viewing spectacles," from Old French theatre (12c.), from Latin theatrum, from Greek theatron "theater," literally "place for viewing," from theasthai "to behold" (cf. thea "a view," theates "spectator") + -tron, suffix denoting place. Meaning "building where plays are shown" (1570s) was transferred to that of "plays, writing, production, the stage" (1660s). Spelling with -re prevailed in Britain after c.1700, but American English retained or revived the older spelling in -er. Generic sense of "place of action" is from 1580s; especially "region where war is being fought" (1914).
The Theatre of the Absurd strives to express its sense of the senselessness of the human condition and the inadequacy of the rational approach by the open abandonment of rational devices and discursive thought. [M. Esslin, "Theatre of the Absurd," 1961]