[gal-uh-ree, gal-ree]
See more synonyms for gallery on
noun, plural gal·ler·ies.
  1. a raised area, often having a stepped or sloping floor, in a theater, church, or other public building to accommodate spectators, exhibits, etc.
  2. the uppermost of such areas in a theater, usually containing the cheapest seats.
  3. the occupants of such an area in a theater.
  4. the general public, especially when regarded as having popular or uncultivated tastes.
  5. any group of spectators or observers, as at a golf match, a Congressional session, etc.
  6. a room, series of rooms, or building devoted to the exhibition and often the sale of works of art.
  7. a long covered area, narrow and open at one or both sides, used especially as a walk or corridor.
  8. Chiefly South Atlantic States. a long porch or portico; veranda.
  9. a long, relatively narrow room, especially one for public use.
  10. a corridor, especially one having architectural importance through its scale or decorative treatment.
  11. a raised, balconylike platform or passageway running along the exterior wall of a building inside or outside.
  12. a large room or building used for photography, target practice, or other special purposes: a shooting gallery.
  13. a collection of art for exhibition.
  14. Theater. a narrow, raised platform located beyond the acting area, used by stagehands or technicians to stand on when working.
  15. Nautical. a projecting balcony or structure on the quarter or stern of a vessel.
  16. Furniture. an ornamental railing or cresting surrounding the top of a table, stand, desk, etc.
  17. Mining. a level or drift.
  18. a small tunnel in a dam, mine, or rock, for various purposes, as inspection or drainage.
  19. a passageway made by an animal.
  20. Fortification Obsolete. an underground or covered passage to another part of a fortified position.
  1. play to the gallery, to attempt to appeal to the popular taste, as opposed to a more refined or esoteric taste: Movies, though still playing mainly to the gallery, have taken their place as a significant art form.

Origin of gallery

1400–50; late Middle English < Old French galerie < Medieval Latin galeria, by dissimilation or suffix replacement from galilea, galilæa galilee
Related formsgal·ler·ied, adjectivegal·ler·y·like, adjectiveun·gal·ler·ied, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gallery

Contemporary Examples of gallery

Historical Examples of gallery

  • In the Peer's gallery were the foremost members of the House of Lords.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • A long vault, corresponding to the gallery above, led to these cellars.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Her picture, of course, is already in the Rogues' Gallery, but they will take another.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And now, may I have the honor of asking you to accept the escort of Mr. Cassidy to our gallery.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The one you've got of me in the Gallery is over ten years old.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for gallery


noun plural -leries
  1. a room or building for exhibiting works of art
  2. a covered passageway open on one side or on both sidesSee also colonnade (def. 1)
    1. a balcony running along or around the inside wall of a church, hall, etc
    2. a covered balcony, sometimes with columns on the outside
  3. theatre
    1. an upper floor that projects from the rear over the main floor and contains the cheapest seats
    2. the seats there
    3. the audience seated there
  4. a long narrow room, esp one used for a specific purposea shooting gallery
  5. mainly US a building or room where articles are sold at auction
  6. an underground passage, as in a mine, the burrow of an animal, etc
  7. theatre a narrow raised platform at the side or along the back of the stage for the use of technicians and stagehands
  8. (in a TV studio) a glass-fronted soundproof room high up to one side of the studio looking into it. One gallery is used by the director and an assistant and one is for lighting, etc
  9. nautical a balcony or platform at the quarter or stern of a ship, sometimes used as a gun emplacement
  10. a small ornamental metal or wooden balustrade or railing on a piece of furniture, esp one surrounding the top of a desk, table, etc
  11. any group of spectators, as at a golf match
  12. play to the gallery to try to gain popular favour, esp by crude appeals

Word Origin for gallery

C15: from Old French galerie, from Medieval Latin galeria, probably from galilea galilee, a porch or chapel at entrance to medieval church
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 gallery

c.1500, from Middle French galerie "a long portico" (14c.), from Medieval Latin galeria, of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of galilea "church porch," which is probably from Latin Galilaea "Galilee," the northernmost region of Palestine (see Galilee); church porches sometimes were so called from being at the far end of the church.

Super altare Beatæ Mariæ in occidentali porte ejusdem ecclesiæ quæ Galilæ a vocatur. [c.1186 charter in "Durham Cathedral"]

Sense of "building to house art" first recorded 1590s; that of "people who occupy a (theater) gallery" (contrasted with "gentlemen of the pit") first by Lovelace, 1640s, hence to play to the gallery (1867).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with gallery


see play to the gallery; rogues' gallery.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.