mat·​i·​nee | \ ˌma-tə-ˈnā How to pronounce matinee (audio) \
variants: or matinée

Definition of matinee

: a musical or dramatic performance or social or public event held in the daytime and especially the afternoon The Saturday matinee was so crowded that we had to sit in the second row.

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Soiree: A Fancy Evening Party

In English, soiree means “a fancy evening affair.” The word comes directly from French and was formed from the word soir, meaning “evening” or “night.” The French make a subtle distinction between soir, which refers explicitly to the time of day following sunset, and soirée, which refers to some duration of time, usually translated as “evening.” English speakers don’t use different words, but we understand the difference between “I’ll see you tomorrow evening” and “We spent the evening playing cards”—one refers to a time of day and one refers to the passage of time. From the idea of a period of time evolved the second meaning of soirée: a party that takes place during the evening. As is typical for words that have been borrowed from modern French, soiree in English signifies the fancy version of a simple “party”: an evening event that is formal or refined in some way.

A third sense of soirée in French, “an evening performance,” has a parallel with matinée, from matin “morning. ” Matinée literally means “morning performance” in French but has come to mean “daytime or afternoon performance” in English. The “evening performance” meaning of soirée has not been adopted by English. Our Unabridged of 1934, however, did record both a verb soiree (meaning, presumably, “to hold or attend an evening party”) and the variant swarry, “so spelled in mimicry of mispronunciation.”

Soiree can be spelled in English using the acute accent as soirée, but is usually spelled without it.

Examples of matinee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But there was no Minneapolis miracle, no recreation of last season’s Memorial Day matinee in this ballpark. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' comeback falls short in loss to Twins," 11 Apr. 2018 In a matinee pitting the winners of three American League Cy Young Awards against each other, Kluber was marvelous. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Corey Kluber shuts down Astros in loss to Indians," 19 May 2018 One Saturday matinee of each show will be open-captioned, audio-described and ASL-interpreted. Kathleen Luppi,, "Segerstrom Center unveils 2018-19 Broadway series," 21 Mar. 2018 This is the appeal of a matinee at the Can Can: custom cabaret-style shows in an intimate setting. Elisa Murray, The Seattle Times, "Leapin’ lizards! We leaped through 3 family holiday shows, from ‘Annie’ to ‘Matilda’ to ‘Wonderland’," 5 Dec. 2018 Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. There is also a 1 p.m. matinee on Aug. 2. Christopher Arnott,, "'Lion King' Making Summer Stop At The Bushnell," 12 July 2018 Profar went out with a bang Sunday as the Rangers rallied to a 13-12 victory over the Colorado Rockies in a steamy Father's Day matinee at Globe Life Park. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Profar comes up big for Rangers in final game as everyday shortstop," 17 June 2018 Velasquez, coming off his worst start of the season last week against the Milwaukee Brewers, will take his turn in a Thursday matinee. Scott Lauber,, "Rough fourth inning does in Nick Pivetta, Phillies in loss to Rockies," 13 June 2018 Sung in English, the libretto has been peppered with modern-day bits of social commentary that reflect the spirit of the genre, an observation echoed by the composer’s daughter, Yvonne Kalman, who spoke with me at Sunday’s matinee. Howard Reich,, "Remembering Henry Butler, a New Orleans giant," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matinee.' 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 matinee

1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for matinee

French matinée, literally, morning, from Old French, from matin morning, from Latin matutinum, from neuter of matutinus of the morning, from Matuta, goddess of morning; akin to Latin maturus ripe — more at mature

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Statistics for matinee

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for matinee

The first known use of matinee was in 1848

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More Definitions for matinee



English Language Learners Definition of matinee

: a play, movie, etc., that is performed or shown in the afternoon


variants: or matinée \ ˌma-​tə-​ˈnā \

Kids Definition of matinee

: a musical or dramatic performance in the afternoon

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More from Merriam-Webster on matinee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with matinee

Spanish Central: Translation of matinee

Nglish: Translation of matinee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of matinee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on matinee

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


a strong desire or propensity

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