[thes-pee-uh n]


(often lowercase) pertaining to tragedy or to the dramatic art in general.
of or characteristic of Thespis.
of or relating to Thespiae.


(sometimes lowercase) a tragedian; an actor or actress.

Origin of Thespian

First recorded in 1665–75; Thespi(s) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thespian

Contemporary Examples of thespian

Historical Examples of thespian

British Dictionary definitions for thespian



of or relating to Thespis
(usually not capital) of or relating to drama and the theatre; dramatic

noun (usually not capital)

often facetious an actor or actress
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 thespian

1670s, "of or pertaining to tragedy or dramatic acting," from Greek Thespis, poet of 6c. B.C.E., the traditional father of Greek tragedy. The names is literally "inspired by the gods."


"an actor," 1827, from thespian (adj.). Short form thesp is attested from 1962.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper