fourth wall

noun

Definition of fourth wall

: an imaginary wall (as at the opening of a modern stage proscenium) that keeps performers from recognizing or directly addressing their audience

Examples of fourth wall in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The fantasy of the day after Christmas takes place in the bargain basement, an imaginary space beyond the fourth wall where objects must be sold, posthaste. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "The bleak hope of the day-after-Christmas sale," 27 Dec. 2018 In that scene, the movie breaks the fourth wall, going back to a focus group that appeared earlier in the movie to weigh in on some Republican Party messaging. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Vice doesn’t want to humanize Dick Cheney. So instead, it (maybe) demonizes America.," 21 Dec. 2018 Greg’s recasting wouldn’t work as a metaphor if Crazy Ex-Girlfriend weren’t already given to frequently breaking the fourth wall. Constance Grady, Vox, "How Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pulled off recasting Greg, one of its biggest characters," 12 Dec. 2018 Soft-lens earnestness is front-and-center as charismatic culture icons break the fourth wall with glamorous friends in bold-colored turtlenecks against a snowy backdrop. Liz Arcury, Marie Claire, "The 8 Best Celebrity Holiday Specials Ever," 29 Nov. 2018 My main beef with the humor came with the game's repeated need to break the fourth wall. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)," 17 Nov. 2018 Together, they brainstorm ways to break the fourth wall (the conceptual space that separates a performer from the audience), with funny references while they film. Rose Minutaglio, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Star Molly McCook Speaks Out About the Mandy Baxter Recast Backlash," 20 Oct. 2018 Whatever disparities may exist between Barbara and Balibar are cleverly acknowledged by the movie's willingness to break the fourth wall, a device that feels less gimmicky here than exploratory. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Five movies to see at the 2018 COLCOA French Film Festival," 22 Apr. 2018 Audience members sit behind the invisible fourth wall, eavesdropping on dramas about what humans are capable, or incapable, of. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "With “Fairview,” Jackie Sibblies Drury Breaks the Fourth Wall," 24 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of fourth wall

1807, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for fourth wall

The first known use of fourth wall was in 1807

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