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 In his first show back, Stewart broke the fourth wall by asking the camera operator to move closer and closer to stare at his face again. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 26 Feb. 2024 The three-level home comes surrounded by abundant mango trees, comes with four bedrooms for up to eight guests, and has a fourth wall in the living room that opens to an expansive infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 24 Jan. 2024 The cat shatters the fourth wall, as cats will; Sol receives a goldfish named Nugget, which doesn’t bode well; a shy scorpion scurries into a crack; and the end credits are punctuated by drawings of various creatures. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2024 Ben Hania likens the project to Brechtian theater, with her subjects breaking the fourth wall to assess the sometimes harrowing events being depicted. Matthew Jacobs, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 Instead, the director himself volunteered to read it, breaking the fourth wall and lending the entire film a reflective, self-aware quality., 16 Nov. 2023 Either way, the fourth wall is cracking, and perhaps the discomfort this might cause has been a long time coming. Maya Salam, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2024 Her police detective is forever breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to the camera, rambling on about literary references that often serve as a metaphor for whatever is happening in her life. Nina Metz, The Mercury News, 4 Jan. 2024 Breaking the fourth wall reveals a more significant concern—a storyline tactically orchestrating a conflict between two Igbo women on national television. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 12 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fourth wall.' 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

1807, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fourth wall was in 1807

Dictionary Entries Near fourth wall

Cite this Entry

“Fourth wall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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