[ mahr-kee ]
/ mɑrˈki /


a tall rooflike projection above a theater entrance, usually containing the name of a currently featured play or film and its stars.
a rooflike shelter, as of glass, projecting above an outer door and over a sidewalk or a terrace.
Also marquess, marquise. British. a large tent or tentlike shelter with open sides, especially one for temporary use in outdoor entertainments, receptions, etc.


superlative; headlining: a marquee basketball player.

Nearby words

  1. marprelate,
  2. marq.,
  3. marquand,
  4. marquand, john phillips,
  5. marque,
  6. marquesan,
  7. marquesas islands,
  8. marquess,
  9. marquessate,
  10. marquetry

Origin of marquee

1680–90; assumed singular of marquise, taken as plural

Can be confusedmarque marquee marquess marquis marquise Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marquee

British Dictionary definitions for marquee


/ (mɑːˈkiː) /


a large tent used for entertainment, exhibition, etc
Also called: marquise mainly US and Canadian a canopy over the entrance to a theatre, hotel, etc
(modifier) mainly US and Canadian celebrated or pre-eminenta marquee player

Word Origin for marquee

C17 (originally an officer's tent): invented singular form of marquise, erroneously taken to be plural

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 marquee



1680s, "large tent," from French marquise (mistaken in English as a plural) "linen canopy placed over an officer's tent to distinguish it from others,' " fem. of marquis (see marquis), and perhaps indicating "a place suitable for a marquis." Sense of "canopy over the entrance to a hotel or theater, etc." first recorded 1912 in American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper