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adjective Also the·at·ric.
  1. of or relating to the theater or dramatic presentations: theatrical performances.
  2. suggestive of the theater or of acting; artificial, pompous, spectacular, or extravagantly histrionic: a theatrical display of grief.
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  1. theatricals,
    1. dramatic performances, now especially as given by amateurs.
    2. artificial or histrionic actions.
  2. a professional actor: a family of renowned theatricals.
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Origin of theatrical

1550–60; < Late Latin theātric(us) < Greek theātrikós, equivalent to theā́tr(on) theater + -ikos -ic + -al1
Related formsthe·at·ri·cal·i·ty [thee-a-tri-kal-i-tee] /θiˌæ trɪˈkæl ɪ ti/, the·at·ri·cal·ness, nounthe·at·ri·cal·ly, adverbhalf-the·at·ri·cal, adjectivenon·the·at·ric, adjectivenon·the·at·ri·cal, adjectivenon·the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·the·at·ri·cal, adjectiveo·ver·the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·the·at·ri·cal·ness, nounqua·si-the·at·ri·cal, adjectivequa·si-the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·the·at·ric, adjectivesem·i·the·at·ri·cal, adjectivesem·i·the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverbun·the·at·ric, adjectiveun·the·at·ri·cal, adjectiveun·the·at·ri·cal·ly, adverb


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

Related Words

hit, show, drama, performance, comedy, musical, opera, play, theater, farce, scene, production, tragedy, melodrama, turkey, smash, theatrical, flop, mask, entertainment

Examples from the Web for theatricals

Historical Examples

  • We sat out the first part of the festivities, which were to conclude with theatricals.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Last night at the theatre there were theatricals all over the house.

  • At Mrs. Maskleyn's they are mad for charades and theatricals.

    The Christmas Books

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • Theatricals are held in a mammoth tent, as there is so far no theatre.

  • We cannot go out in this frightful weather, so we have theatricals.

British Dictionary definitions for theatricals


pl n
  1. dramatic performances and entertainments, esp as given by amateurs
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  1. of or relating to the theatre or dramatic performances
  2. exaggerated and affected in manner or behaviour; histrionic
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Derived Formstheatricality or theatricalness, nountheatrically, adverb
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 theatricals



1550s, "pertaining to the theater," from theater + -ical. Sense of "stagy, histrionic" is attested from 1709.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper