Listeners or onlookers who have no choice but to attend. For example, It's a required course and, knowing he has a captive audience, the professor rambles on endlessly. This expression, first recorded in 1902, uses captive in the sense of “unable to escape.”
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Words nearby captive audience
Example sentences from the Web for captive audience
The best comparison here for an American audience is, well, Internet stuff.
ROME — What does it take for a Hollywood A-lister to get a private audience with Pope Francis?Pope Francis Has the Pleasure of Meeting Angelina Jolie for a Few Seconds|Barbie Latza Nadeau|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Conway says the audience is asked to vote all the way through the show.Harry’s Daddy, and Diana’s ‘Murder’: Royal Rumors In a New Play|Tom Sykes|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
When the audience laughed he added that, “They think freedom would benefit them but they were cheated.”50 Shades of Iran: The Mullahs’ Kinky Fantasies about Sex in the West|IranWire, Shima Sharabi|January 1, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Sting took over the lead role to try to draw an audience, but his thumpingly inspirational score was already the hero of the show.Hedwig, Hugh & Michael Cera: 12 Powerhouse Theater Performances of 2014|Janice Kaplan|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The only thing that at all tended to shake this conviction, was the extraordinary poltroonery of our new captive.
The wee round wonders with their mystery of velvety colour are well fitted to take captive the young eye.Children's Ways|James Sully
He was also the one and only personage in the drama, concentrating on himself the attention of the audience.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
How still and calm the night was, the very stars were painted on the sky, the lights were low, there lay a hush upon the audience.The Wave|Algernon Blackwood
The voice of duty called her to the kitchen, where her cook patiently awaited her inevitable, and always painful, audience.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills