gallery

[gal-uh-ree, gal-ree]
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noun, plural gal·ler·ies.


Idioms

    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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for play to the gallery

gallery

noun plural -leries

a room or building for exhibiting works of art
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
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
a long narrow room, esp one used for a specific purposea shooting gallery
mainly US a building or room where articles are sold at auction
an underground passage, as in a mine, the burrow of an animal, etc
theatre a narrow raised platform at the side or along the back of the stage for the use of technicians and stagehands
(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
nautical a balcony or platform at the quarter or stern of a ship, sometimes used as a gun emplacement
a small ornamental metal or wooden balustrade or railing on a piece of furniture, esp one surrounding the top of a desk, table, etc
any group of spectators, as at a golf match
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 play to the gallery

gallery

n.

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

play to the gallery in Culture

play to the gallery

To direct a performance toward less sophisticated tastes; by extension, to attempt to gain approval by crude or obvious means: “The cast of the play was a decidedly mixed bag of youthful method actors and old hams who played to the gallery.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with play to the gallery

play to the gallery

Appeal to spectators for maximum approval, as in He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery. In this term gallery refers to the cheapest seats in a British theater and hence the least sophisticated audience. [Late 1800s]

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.