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

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 What happens in a theater performance is defined by its separation from the actual world, by that proverbial fourth wall, which makes the fiction of the stage real. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Behind the scenes at Music Circus: "The better you are at your job, the less people notice"," 6 July 2018 With no fourth wall to keep disbelief suspended, the show is no longer greater than the sum of its parts. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Behind the scenes at Music Circus: "The better you are at your job, the less people notice"," 6 July 2018 And both Wood and Hissom break the fourth wall to engage the audience, a tactic that usually falls flat but works perfectly here. Hugh Hunter, Philly.com, "Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's 'Twelfth Night': A hilarious tragedy on human frailty," 24 June 2018 There is a moment in the video loop when a foot breaks the fourth wall, smashing a sheet of glass. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Marilyn Minter considers glamour, power at Ratio 3," 7 June 2018 After Derek's body is found, the actors break the fourth wall and address potential concerns. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "Teacher of the Year earns low marks for both math and comedy," 29 May 2018 The fourth wall–breaking, mile-a-minute-talking Deadpool was the most irreverent of Liefeld’s creations, while Cable played the role of a weary straight man. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Dour Resurgence of Cable, Deadpool 2’s Anti-Hero," 23 May 2018 The film begins with a hilarious shot at another Marvel movie, setting the tone — once again, the fourth wall is more a custom than a rule for Wade. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Deadpool 2' gets even weirder, in a good way," 14 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of fourth wall

1807, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fourth wall

Share fourth wall

Statistics for fourth wall

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fourth wall

The first known use of fourth wall was in 1807

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on fourth wall

See words that rhyme with fourth wall

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fourth wall

Comments on fourth wall

What made you want to look up fourth wall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!