am·​phi·​the·​ater ˈam(p)-fə-ˌthē(-ə)-tər How to pronounce amphitheater (audio)
 also  ˈam-pə-ˌthē-
: an oval or circular building with rising tiers of seats ranged about an open space and used in ancient Rome especially for contests and spectacles
: a very large auditorium
: a room with a gallery from which doctors and students may observe surgical operations
: a rising gallery in a modern theater
: a flat or gently sloping area surrounded by abrupt slopes
: a place of public entertainment (as for games or concerts)
ˌam(p)-fə-thē-ˈa-trik How to pronounce amphitheater (audio)
 also  ˌam-pə-thē-
or amphitheatrical
ˌam(p)-fə-thē-ˈa-tri-kəl How to pronounce amphitheater (audio)
 also  ˌam-pə-thē-
ˌam(p)-fə-thē-ˈa-tri-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce amphitheater (audio)
 also  ˌam-pə-thē-

Examples of amphitheater in a Sentence

the conference attendees crowded into the amphitheater for the keynote address
Recent Examples on the Web There's a reason the historic amphitheater is one of Italy's most popular attractions. Melissa Locker, Travel + Leisure, 9 Nov. 2023 Visitors must take a tram from the welcome center to the amphitheater; the tram begins running at 8:30 a.m. and continues until the amphitheater is full. Olivia McCormack, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 The grounds have various ways to entertain guests with its 100-seat amphitheater, pagoda with a firepit, an entertainment pavilion with a full kitchen, a private lake with a sandy beach, and an outdoor shower. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 24 Oct. 2023 Currently the amphitheater is about 24-by-16-feet, while the new one will be about 47-by-25-feet. Shelley Jones, Chicago Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 To celebrate the 85th anniversary, Rubin has assembled a special concert to highlight the iconic amphitheater's importance and history. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 28 Aug. 2023 At the amphitheater near the AMC Theatre at Arrowhead Towne Center, 7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center. Dina Kaur, The Arizona Republic, 23 Aug. 2023 Archaeologists found a similar set of iron bars in the early 1960s in the kitchen of a large residence near the amphitheater. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Aug. 2023 There also are plenty of snazzy amenities—a guest cottage, gym, 100-seat amphitheater, pagoda with fire-pit, putting green, an infinity-edge pool and spa, and a private lake with its own sandy beach, just for starters. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 27 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amphitheater.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English amphitheatre, borrowed from Latin amphitheātrum, borrowed from Greek amphithéātron, noun derivative from neuter of amphithéātros "(of a stadium) having seats for spectators all around," from amphi- amphi- + -theātros, derivative of théātron "place for viewing a drama, theater entry 1"

Note: The term is also used in isolated, partially naturalized Old English attestations, as anfiteatrum and anfiteatra.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of amphitheater was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near amphitheater

Cite this Entry

“Amphitheater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a building with seats rising in curved rows around an open space on which games and plays take place
: something (as a piece of level ground surrounded by hills) that resembles an amphitheater

More from Merriam-Webster on amphitheater

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