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

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 To date, the Padres’ have won successive series just eight times in the Andy Green era: Extra bases OF Wil Myers (right arm) hit on the field before Sunday’s matinee. Kevin Acee,, "First pitch: Eric Hosmer (back) remains out of Padres' lineup," 15 Apr. 2018 The Orioles must make a roster move to create space for right-hander Alex Cobb before Saturday’s matinee at Fenway Park, and there’s no clear way the team is leaning. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Roster crunch leaves Orioles with no clear move to make for Alex Cobb," 14 Apr. 2018 Alex Lyon has had a few strong starts but got overmatched against the Penguins in a Sunday matinee. Jeremy Fuchs,, "Power Rankings: Who Else Joins in on the Postseason Fun?," 26 Mar. 2018 That’s the only weekday matinee game scheduled this season. Steve Lyttle, charlotteobserver, "Chicago White Sox getting some good news in Charlotte | Charlotte Observer," 29 Apr. 2018 The Bucks start the trip with a matinee game against the Brooklyn Nets and get to stay in New York City to prepare for Tuesday's rematch against the Knicks. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Around the NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George earn player of the week honors," 3 Feb. 2018 The matinee featured an abbreviated outing from Kenta Maeda, a bravura performance by the Dodgers bullpen and an afternoon of angst aimed at Gibson. Andy Mccullough,, "Dodgers settle for split in doubleheader with Cubs," 20 June 2018 And for the matinee on June 20, the powerful, statuesque Christine Shevchenko makes her New York debut as Odette/Odile opposite the charismatic James Whiteside. New York Times, "8 Dance Performances to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 14 June 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

2 Mar 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

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