- 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 theatre
She reportedly studied French and Italian at Oxford before attending the prestigious Jacques Lecoq school of theatre in Paris.Benedict Cumberbatch Announces Engagement in The Times
November 5, 2014
War of the Worlds (1953) I snuck into a theatre with my older brother to see this one.Wes Craven's Favorite Scary Movies
October 30, 2014
I was really happy that the Theatre Wing approved that idea.Oscars Host Neil Patrick Harris on His Best and Worst Emcee Moments (VIDEO)
Neil Patrick Harris
October 15, 2014
This prompted a lengthy discussion of optics and theatre among the panelists.Todd Brings Goatee and Game to MTP Debut
September 7, 2014
But they also reveal a waspish, bitter man frequently disillusioned with film and theatre.The Concealed Genius of Alec Guinness
June 12, 2014
I don't like deceiving my mother; but I should not like to pain her by saying I have been to the theatre.
You have never been to the theatre, you say, and yet you disapprove of it.
None the less, the theatre was half empty when Theodora was given.Handel
Edward J. Dent
He left the theatre in an exalted mood in which he had little thought for the realities.
But he had asked her to go to the theatre, and he did not wish to disappoint her.
- a building designed for the performance of plays, operas, etc
- (as modifier)a theatre ticket
- (in combination)a theatregoer
- a large room or hall, usually with a raised platform and tiered seats for an audience, used for lectures, film shows, etc
- Also called: operating theatre a room in a hospital or other medical centre equipped for surgical operations
- plays regarded collectively as a form of art
- the theatre the world of actors, theatrical companies, etcthe glamour of the theatre
- a setting for dramatic or important events
- writing that is suitable for dramatic presentationa good piece of theatre
- US, Australian and NZ the usual word for cinema (def. 1)
- a major area of military activitythe theatre of operations
- a circular or semicircular open-air building with tiers of seats
Word Origin and History for theatre
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]