di·​e·​get·​ic ˌdī-ə-ˈje-tik How to pronounce diegetic (audio)
: of or relating to diegesis
One of the primary qualities of those texts we understand as fiction is that they generate a diegetic order that has an astonishing independence from its text.Robert Scholes
especially : existing or occurring within the world of a narrative rather than as something external to that world
What the film does do, though, to really wonderful effect, is synchronize diegetic sounds—gunshots, explosions, tires screeching, windshield wipers wiping, engines revving, etc.—with its non-diegetic pop soundtrack. David Hollingshead
Music is integral to the world of Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, but it is also incidental, experienced only as part of the action. The remarkable 2018 film contains only diegetic uses of music; no song is ever superimposed over the deliberately paced action that takes place in Mexico City's Colonia Roma neighborhood at the dawn of the 1970s. Philip Sherburne
The writer … pointed out the director's use of diegetic music. We, as viewers, only hear music when a character in the world of the story hears music. This happens when they put in earphones, turn on a car stereo or play a record. Emily Ellot

Examples of diegetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The music, in this case, arises not from a conventional score, but rather from the diegetic accompaniments of soup bubbling in a pot, butter sizzling in a pan and utensils scraping against crockery. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2023 The characters in the revenge thriller have not a single line of dialogue throughout the film, with the only snippets of speech coming from diegetic music, a few brief radio broadcasts and phone messages. Rafa Sales Ross, Variety, 3 Dec. 2023 But the finished film, which featured a landmark diegetic soundtrack, a vibrant young cast and a strong vein of hopeful, Kennedy-era nostalgia, captured the imagination of audiences and redefined the teen movie. Jennifer E. Mabry, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2023 Meanwhile, Bryce Dessner’s bold score blurs together past and present through the incorporation of diegetic noises, so that the clang of broken glass becomes an unbearable cacophony reverberating between Barbe-Nicole’s stress now and François’ mania then. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2023 Alongside all this diegetic music, integrated into the texture of the drama, there is one glorious needle drop, planted by Sachs on the soundtrack at a climactic moment of the action, that serves as the movie’s aesthetic center. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 Haunted by water Britell’s music, and the show’s use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound, may be one of the reasons why, even four seasons in, that none of the show’s fans could confidently anticipate who would succeed the family’s patriarch. Delia Casadei, The Conversation, 31 May 2023 This music appears to be diegetic, suggesting the theme is an in-universe anthem for the New Republic. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 23 Mar. 2023 Made without non-diegetic music or camerawork that calls attention to itself — in line with the minimalist aesthetic of the Berlin School — this is a deceptively simple and straightforward but emotionally layered film, nicely acted by the tight ensemble. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diegetic was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near diegetic

Cite this Entry

“Diegetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diegetic. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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