Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

vaudeville

play
noun vaude·ville \ˈvȯd-vəl, ˈväd-, ˈvōd-, -ˌvil; ˈvȯ-də-, ˈvä-, ˈvō-\

Simple Definition of vaudeville

  • : a type of entertainment that was popular in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that had many different performers doing songs, dances, and comic acts

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of vaudeville

  1. 1 :  a light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song

  2. 2 :  stage entertainment consisting of various acts (as performing animals, comedians, or singers)

vaudevillian

play \ˌvȯd-ˈvil-yən, ˌväd-, ˌvōd-; ˌvȯ-də-, ˌvä-, ˌvō-\ noun or adjective

Examples of vaudeville in a sentence

  1. She became a big star in vaudeville.



Did You Know?

In the 15th century, several amusing songs became popular across France. These songs were said to have been written by a man named Olivier Basselin who lived in the valley of the river Vire in northwest France. The songs eventually became known as chansons de vau-de-Vire, meaning "songs of the valley of Vire." Other people began writing and performing similar songs, and as this form of entertainment became more widespread, the link to vau-de-Vire was forgotten. The nickname was shortened to one word, vaudevire. As the phenomenon spread beyond France, further changes in pronunciation and spelling shifted vaudevire into vaudeville. The meaning also broadened to include humorous performances and variety shows.

Origin and Etymology of vaudeville

French, from Middle French, popular satirical song, alteration of vaudevire, from vau-de-Vire valley of Vire, town in northwest France where such songs were composed


First Known Use: 1827

Other Performing Arts Terms


VAUDEVILLE Defined for Kids

vaudeville

play
noun vaude·ville \ˈvȯd-vəl\

Definition of vaudeville for Students

  1. :  theatrical entertainment made up of songs, dances, and comic acts




Learn More about vaudeville


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up vaudeville? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or near a shore

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

rebellion interruption torrent megillah
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ