audience

[aw-dee-uh ns]
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noun
  1. the group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers collectively, as in attendance at a theater or concert: The audience was respectful of the speaker's opinion.
  2. the persons reached by a book, radio or television broadcast, etc.; public: Some works of music have a wide and varied audience.
  3. a regular public that manifests interest, support, enthusiasm, or the like; a following: Every art form has its audience.
  4. opportunity to be heard; chance to speak to or before a person or group; a hearing.
  5. a formal interview with a sovereign, high officer of government, or other high-ranking person: an audience with the pope.
  6. the act of hearing, or attending to, words or sounds.

Origin of audience

1325–75; Middle English < Middle French < Latin audientia act of listening, group of listeners, equivalent to audient-, stem of audiēns, present participle of audīre to hear + -ia -ia; see -ence
Related formspro·au·di·ence, adjective

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for audience

audience

noun
  1. a group of spectators or listeners, esp at a public event such as a concert or play
  2. the people reached by a book, film, or radio or television programme
  3. the devotees or followers of a public entertainer, lecturer, etc; regular public
  4. an opportunity to put one's point of view, such as a formal interview with a monarch or head of state

Word Origin for audience

C14: from Old French, from Latin audientia a hearing, from audīre to hear
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 audience
n.

late 14c., "the action of hearing," from Old French audience, from Latin audentia "a hearing, listening," from audientum (nominative audiens), present participle of audire "to hear," from PIE compound *au-dh- "to perceive physically, grasp," from root *au- "to perceive" (cf. Greek aisthanesthai "to feel;" Sanskrit avih, Avestan avish "openly, evidently;" Old Church Slavonic javiti "to reveal"). Meaning "formal hearing or reception" is from late 14c.; that of "persons within hearing range, assembly of listeners" is from early 15c. (French audience retains only the older senses). Sense transferred 1855 to "readers of a book." Audience-participation (adj.) first recorded 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper