fourth wall


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 Fox News personalities break the fourth wall to lecture us directly. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "The Sexual Predator’s TV Wife," 23 Dec. 2019 Two of the ghosts repeatedly break the fourth wall, calling for an audience response, which gives several scenes a revival-meeting feel. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Strong performances and design details make Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 'Christmas Carol' a success," 30 Nov. 2019 And director Falls’ surprise ending, which makes the most of Duane Schuler’s telltale lighting design, breaks the fourth wall in a way that places responsibility for the way women are treated on all of us. Howard Reich,, "Lyric Opera review: A ‘Don Giovanni’ for the #MeToo era — who is far more monster than charmer," 15 Nov. 2019 This manner of breaking down the fourth wall feels stale from the start. New York Times, "Review: Perfume Genius and Kate Wallich in a World of Angst," 14 Nov. 2019 Related Articles But the crowd pleasers are the numerous times when the evil trio breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience. Renee Valois, Twin Cities, "Review: CTC’s ‘Cinderella’ is a crazily bipolar world … with Minnesota jokes!," 10 Nov. 2019 Like its source material, Daybreak deliberately breaks the fourth wall to address viewers (and sometimes, the writers) directly—a narrative device also used to great effect in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's hit series, Fleabag. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Mad Max meets Ferris Bueller in boldly outrageous Netflix series Daybreak," 3 Nov. 2019 The character regularly breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to her audience and, in season 1, this element is used to reveal a season-long secret that prompts her to no longer speak to the camera for the final five minutes. Nick Romano,, "Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge explains how she cracked season 2," 8 Aug. 2019 Photo: Mo Willems What’s the power of breaking the fourth wall in children’s literature and programming? Chris Kornelis, WSJ, "Mo Willems Prepares Another ‘Pigeon’ Book," 26 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for fourth wall

Time Traveler

The first known use of fourth wall was in 1807

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Statistics for fourth wall

Last Updated

28 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fourth wall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fourth wall Encyclopedia article about fourth wall

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