the oval space in the center of a Roman amphitheater for gladiatorial combats or other performances.
a central stage, ring, area, or the like, used for sports or other forms of entertainment, surrounded by seats for spectators: a boxing arena; a circus arena.
a building housing an arena.
a field of conflict, activity, or endeavor: the arena of politics.

Origin of arena

1620–30; < Latin (h)arēna sand, sandy place, area sanded for combat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for arena

Contemporary Examples of arena

Historical Examples of arena

  • He saw the ocean world an arena into which rushed all nations but ours.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • The United States entered the arena and called for his services.

    The Age of Invention

    Holland Thompson

  • He had had his bout; the sands of the arena that once had shone golden now were dust.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • Men were bringing tall hurdles outward to place them in the arena.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • Lydia sprang into the arena, to save him, and because she was the one who had the latest news.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for arena



  1. an enclosure or platform, usually surrounded by seats on all sides, in which sports events, contests, entertainments, etc, take placea boxing arena
  2. (as modifier)arena stage
the central area of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, in which gladiatorial contests and other spectacles were held
a sphere or scene of conflict or intense activitythe political arena

Word Origin for arena

C17: from Latin harēna sand, place where sand was strewn for the combats
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 arena

1620s, "place of combat," from Latin harena "place of combat," originally "sand, sandy place," perhaps from Etruscan. The central stages of Roman amphitheaters were strewn with sand to soak up the blood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper