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noun the·ater \ˈthē-ə-tər, ˈthēə-, oftenest in Southern ˈthē-ˌā- also thē-ˈā-\

Simple Definition of theater

  • : a building where plays, shows, etc., are performed on a stage

  • : a building or room in which movies are shown

  • : plays in general or as a form of entertainment

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of theater

  1. 1a :  an outdoor structure for dramatic performances or spectacles in ancient Greece and Romeb :  a building or area for dramatic performancesc :  a building or area for showing motion pictures

  2. 2 :  a place or sphere of enactment of usually significant events or action <the theater of public life>

  3. 3a :  a place rising by steps or gradations <a woody theater of stateliest view — John Milton>b :  a room often with rising tiers of seats for assemblies (as for lectures or surgical demonstrations)

  4. 4a :  dramatic literature :  playsb :  dramatic representation as an art or profession :  drama

  5. 5a :  dramatic or theatrical quality or effectivenessb :  spectacle 1ac :  entertainment in the form of a dramatic or diverting situation or series of events <their public feud made for good theater>

  6. 6 :  theater of operations

Examples of theater in a sentence

  1. the oldest theater in the city

  2. the theater district in New York City

  3. The film is now showing in theaters.

  4. We enjoyed a weekend of music, dance, and theater.

  5. He was very fond of the theater and had purchased tickets for several performances.

  6. Her interests include theater and poetry.

  7. the theater of 16th-century England

  8. She majored in theater in college.

  9. a course in American theater

  10. His monologues made for good theater.

Variants of theater

or theatre play \ˈthē-ə-tər, ˈthēə-, oftenest in Southern ˈthē-ˌā- also thē-ˈā-\

Origin of theater

Middle English theatre, from Middle French, from Latin theatrum, from Greek theatron, from theasthai to view, from thea act of seeing; akin to Greek thauma miracle

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Performing Arts Terms



adjective the·ater

Definition of theater

  1. :  of, relating to, or appropriate for use in a theater of operations <theater nuclear weapons>

THEATER Defined for Kids


noun the·ater \ˈthē-ə-tər\

Definition of theater for Students

  1. 1 :  a building in which plays, motion pictures, or shows are presented

  2. 2 :  the art or profession of producing plays

  3. 3 :  plays or the performance of plays

  4. 4 :  a place or area where some important action is carried on <a theater of war>

Variants of theater

or theatre \ˈthē-ə-tər\

Medical Dictionary


noun the·ater

Medical Definition of theater

  1. 1:  a room often with rising tiers of seats for assemblies (as for lectures or surgical demonstrations)

  2. 2usually theatre, British :  a hospital operating room

Variants of theater

or theatre \ˈthē-ət-ər\play

Seen and Heard

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expressing little or no emotion

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