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[thee-a-tri-kuh l] /θiˈæ trɪ kəl/
adjective, Also, theatric
of or relating to the theater or dramatic presentations:
theatrical performances.
suggestive of the theater or of acting; artificial, pompous, spectacular, or extravagantly histrionic:
a theatrical display of grief.
  1. dramatic performances, now especially as given by amateurs.
  2. artificial or histrionic actions.
a professional actor:
a family of renowned theatricals.
Origin of theatrical
1550-60; < Late Latin theātric(us) < Greek theātrikós, equivalent to theā́tr(on) theater + -ikos -ic + -al1
Related forms
[thee-a-tri-kal-i-tee] /θiˌæ trɪˈkæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
theatricalness, noun
theatrically, adverb
half-theatrical, adjective
nontheatric, adjective
nontheatrical, adjective
nontheatrically, adverb
overtheatrical, adjective
overtheatrically, adverb
overtheatricalness, noun
quasi-theatrical, adjective
quasi-theatrically, adverb
semitheatric, adjective
semitheatrical, adjective
semitheatrically, adverb
untheatric, adjective
untheatrical, adjective
untheatrically, adverb
2. exaggerated, melodramatic, stagy, extravagant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for theatric
Historical Examples
  • This action of the girl seemed a thought too opportune and much too theatric.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
  • Why not to Paris that her theatric gifts might receive training?

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill
  • In his theatric way he used to tell his intimates that he was haunted by all the Furies.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • It warmed my vanity to think of myself as clever in so theatric a rle as thief.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
  • On her face had been no theatric expression which would have warranted a close-up.

  • For, in spite of these—these strikers—these theatric Debses, you—you got in the point!

    The Dreamers John Kendrick Bangs
  • It was like a theatric effect, unreal, unconvincing, incredible.

    The Mystery Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • theatric, horrible and more than that—matter-of-fact, systematic war!

    My Second Year of the War Frederick Palmer
  • A strange falsity, a theatric insincerity, lay beneath all the Napoleonic sentiments and ideals.

    The Ifs of History

    Joseph Edgar Chamberlin
  • There was an attempt to line up the prophet to add to the theatric effect, says the report.

British Dictionary definitions for theatric


of or relating to the theatre or dramatic performances
exaggerated and affected in manner or behaviour; histrionic
Derived Forms
theatricality, theatricalness, noun
theatrically, 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
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Word Origin and History for theatric



1550s, "pertaining to the theater," from theater + -ical. Sense of "stagy, histrionic" is attested from 1709.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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