Definitions

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

  • n. A building, room, or outdoor structure for the presentation of plays, films, or other dramatic performances.
  • n. A room with tiers of seats used for lectures or demonstrations: an operating theater at a medical school.
  • n. Dramatic literature or its performance; drama: the theater of Shakespeare and Marlowe.
  • n. The milieu of actors and playwrights.
  • n. The quality or effectiveness of a theatrical production: good theater; awful theater.
  • n. Dramatic material or the use of such material: "His summation was a great piece of courtroom theater” ( Ron Rosenbaum).
  • n. The audience assembled for a dramatic performance.
  • n. A place that is the setting for dramatic events.
  • n. A large geographic area in which military operations are coordinated: the European theater during World War II.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A place or building, consisting of a stage and seating, in which an audience gathers to watch plays, musical performances, public ceremonies, and so on.
  • n. A region where a particular action takes place; a specific field of action, usually with reference to war.
  • n. A lecture theatre.
  • n. An operating theatre or locale for human experimentation.
  • n. A cinema.
  • n. Drama or performance as a profession or artform.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An edifice in which dramatic performances or spectacles are exhibited for the amusement of spectators; anciently uncovered, except the stage, but in modern times roofed.
  • n. Any room adapted to the exhibition of any performances before an assembly, as public lectures, scholastic exercises, anatomical demonstrations, surgical operations, etc.
  • n. That which resembles a theater in form, use, or the like; a place rising by steps or gradations, like the seats of a theater.
  • n. A sphere or scheme of operation.
  • n. A place or region where great events are enacted.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A building appropriated to the representation of dramatic spectacles; a play-house.
  • n. A room, hall, or other place, with a platform at one end, and ranks of seats rising stepwise as the tiers recede from the center, or otherwise so arranged that a body of spectators can have an unobstructed view of the platform.
  • n. A place rising by steps or gradations like the seats of a theater.
  • n. A place of action or exhibition; a field of operations; the locality or scene where a series of events takes place or may be observed; scene; seat: as, the theater of war.
  • n. The drama; the mass of dramatic literature; also, theatrical representation; the stage: as, a history of the French theater.
  • n. An amphitheater; hence, a circular reservoir or receptacle; a basin.

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

  • n. a region in which active military operations are in progress
  • n. the art of writing and producing plays
  • n. a building where theatrical performances or motion-picture shows can be presented

Etymologies

Middle English theatre, from Old French, from Latin theātrum, from Greek theātron, from theāsthai, to watch, from theā, a viewing.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English theater, theatre, from Old French theatre, from Latin theatrum, from Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatron, "a place for viewing"), from θεάομαι (theáomai, "to see", "to watch", "to observe"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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