Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The spectators or listeners assembled at a performance, for example, or attracted by a radio or television program.
  • n. The readership for printed matter, as for a book.
  • n. A body of adherents; a following: The tenor expanded his audience by recording popular songs as well as opera.
  • n. A formal hearing, as with a religious or state dignitary.
  • n. An opportunity to be heard or to express one's views.
  • n. The act of hearing or attending.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of hearing; attention to sounds.
  • n. Admittance to a hearing; a formal interview, esp. with a sovereign or the head of a government, for conference or the transaction of business.
  • n. An auditory; an assembly of hearers. Also applied by authors to their readers.
  • n.
  • n.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act or state of hearing or attending to words or sounds; the act of listening.
  • n. Liberty or opportunity of being heard; liberty or opportunity of speaking with or before, as before an assembly or a court of law; specifically, admission of an ambassador, envoy, or other applicant to a formal interview with a sovereign or other high officer of government.
  • n. A hearing; an interview or conference.
  • n. An auditory; an assembly of hearers.
  • n. [Sp. audiencia, commonly used in English writing without translation.] In Spain and Spanish countries, a name given to certain courts, also collectively to certain law-officers appointed to institute a judicial inquiry.
  • n. In England, an abbreviation for audience-court (which see). =

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an opportunity to state your case and be heard
  • n. a gathering of spectators or listeners at a (usually public) performance
  • n. a conference (usually with someone important)
  • n. the part of the general public interested in a source of information or entertainment

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin audientia, from audiēns, audient-, present participle of audīre, to hear; see au- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French audience, from Latin audientia, from present participle audiens "hearing", from verb audio, "I hear". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One of the advantages to having published, in fiction, only vignettes, is the difficulty in reasonably fearing I'll complete lose an audience if ever called upon to read...though I don't recall reading any fiction before an actually present audience* since reading Borges's "Los dos reyes y los dos laberintos" before my senior-year highschool Spanish class, they as startled as the teacher that they could follow it.

    ConDFW

  • The utter _ir_relation, in both cases, of the audience to the scene, (_audience_ I say, as say we must, for the sum of the spectators in the second instance, as well as of the auditors in the first,) threw upon each a ridicule not to be effaced.

    Autobiographical Sketches

  • Stating your target audience is mainly important so that the publisher/agent can evaluate whether you have a realistic idea of who your main audience is.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » How to Communicate with Agents and Editors

  • (Although, of course, the SF and Fantasy genres are larger, wider, and full of more warring or just different camps than they used to be - so the ways that the tie-in audience is different from the "standard" audience isn't as strong as it was ten or twenty years ago.)

    MIND MELD: How Do Media Tie-In Novels Affect SF/F?

  • While immigrants from other regions play some role in audience development, the bulk of the local audience is upwardly mobile and formally educated, but with an education that is not necessarily invested in a particular European canon, for whom Haydn and Bartok are equally new, and whose concert-going loyalties may well include as much pop music as classical.

    E pur si muove

  • Yes because the main audience is you children of the 80 Ninja Bike Jazz ftw

    EXTRALIFE – By Scott Johnson - Transformers Animated Cast Announced

  • Remember that their main audience is the kool-aid crowd that still believes the Iraq War is about 9/11.

    Think Progress » Powerline’s Indictment Analysis: Up = Down

  • As De Soto puts it, his main audience is heads of state.

    Post-President For Life

  • So when I use the word audience throughout this book, it may refer to a group of any size or it may refer to a single individual.

    Life Is a Series of Presentations

  • Hart's pyrotechnics - "I felt threatened when he started screaming and I couldn't make out what he was saying - he was pretty feral at that point," said the unfortunate Gerard Earley - give a new meaning to the term audience participation.

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

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