au·​di·​tion | \ ȯ-ˈdi-shən How to pronounce audition (audio) \

Definition of audition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the power or sense of hearing
2 : the act of hearing especially : a critical hearing an audition of new recordings
3 : a trial performance to appraise an entertainer's merits


auditioned; auditioning\ ȯ-​ˈdi-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce audition (audio) \

Definition of audition (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to test or try out especially in an audition

intransitive verb

: to give a trial performance

Did you know?


Today, "audition" most often refers to a theatrical tryout, but that wasn't always the case. "Audition" is rooted in the Latin verb audire, meaning "to hear," and was first used in the late 16th century to refer to the power or sense of hearing. "Audire" is also the root of such "hearing" words in English as "audible," "audience" (which first meant "the act or state of hearing"), and the prefix audio-, which appears in various words relating to sound. It wasn't until late 19th century that the noun "audition" began being used for an entertainer's trial performance. And the verb audition, meaning "to test or try out in an audition," didn't appear on the English language stage until the mid-20th century.

Examples of audition in a Sentence

Verb When he came in to audition, he was very charming. They auditioned several girls for the role. We will audition dancers today.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bryan expressed regret for being the only judge who rejected Hager during his first audition. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, 16 May 2022 His first audition as an actor, for a Depends television commercial, didn’t land him a job. New York Times, 6 May 2022 Patrick Stewart is known around the world for his portrayal of Star Trek: The Next Generation character Captain Jean-Luc Picard, but before his first audition, the actor knew very little about the sci-fi series. Emily Strohm,, 3 Mar. 2022 In her very first audition for Wicked, she got cast and became the understudy for Glinda. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Feb. 2022 In his first big audition for the starting job in 2022, T.J. Finley turned in a mixed bag and left plenty to be desired. Tom Green |, al, 29 Dec. 2021 Some tales that have built the myth of Hollywood — such as the actors who were discovered while walking their dog, then booked a role in their first audition and appeared on a surprise hit — rarely happen in real life. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 Within days, James went from his first audition to booking a role on Disney. Zareen Syed,, 7 Dec. 2021 Marie Antoinette was not only my acting debut, but also my first audition. Keaton Bell, Vogue, 29 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb McArdle later learned from Martin Charnin, who conceived, directed and wrote Annie’s lyrics, that McArdle was the first child to audition for the show. Jeryl Brunner, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Goher was the one who tracked down Calamawy on social media to convince her to audition for the role. ELLE, 21 Apr. 2022 And Just Like That…, Tannenbaum never actually set out to audition for it. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 6 Apr. 2022 The plan was to audition Sainristil during spring football before making a choice about his future over the summer. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2022 Gaby Hoffmann was at her cabin in upstate New York with a small baby and without Internet when she was asked to audition remotely for an upcoming HBO series about the 1970s-era Los Angeles Lakers. Andrea Cuttler, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Mar. 2022 In his lawsuit, Kramer alleged that the band forced him to audition for his own spot in the band. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 25 Mar. 2022 The story follows 13-year-old Nate (newcomer Rueby Wood), an awkward, aspiring theater kid who can’t land a role in his school play, yet follows his dream from his hometown of Pittsburgh to audition on Broadway. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 16 Mar. 2022 At least one offseason report suggested Nickelback Vito Tisdale would audition at cornerback this spring in an effort to get Kentucky’s best 11 on the field. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'audition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of audition


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1931, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for audition


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin audītiōn-, audītiō "act of hearing, report, rumor," from audīre "to hear" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at audible entry 1


derivative of audition entry 1

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The first known use of audition was in 1599

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Dictionary Entries Near audition

audita querela



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Statistics for audition

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Audition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for audition


au·​di·​tion | \ ȯ-ˈdi-shən How to pronounce audition (audio) \

Kids Definition of audition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short performance to test the talents of someone (as a singer, dancer, or actor)


auditioned; auditioning

Kids Definition of audition (Entry 2 of 2)

: to test or try out in a short performance He auditioned for a part in the play. They auditioned her for the lead role.


au·​di·​tion | \ ȯ-ˈdish-ən How to pronounce audition (audio) \

Medical Definition of audition

1 : the power or sense of hearing
2 : the act of hearing


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