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.

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 Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on May 21 and 28 and June 4 and a Wednesday matinee at 2 p.m. on June 1. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 9 May 2022 Next: The series concludes Sunday with a Mother’s Day matinee at Progressive Field. Joe Noga, cleveland, 7 May 2022 Cast and crew members were informed on Sunday, May 1, the middle of a long bank holiday weekend in the U.K., after the matinee performance, that the show’s last performance would be on June 12. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 3 May 2022 Shows will be at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and April 21-23, plus a 2 p.m. matinee April 23. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Apr. 2022 Seven days ago, the Wolverines took the floor in the same building for another lunchtime matinee in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 17 Mar. 2022 The storylines: Heading into Game 3 — a Sunday matinee on Fox — the Detroit and St. Louis media focused on three main topics. Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, 19 Apr. 2022 Hall School is located at 975 North Main St. Doors open at 7 p.m. each night, and the curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. New this year, Pops ‘n Jazz will also present an abridged, family-friendly, Sunday matinee on March 13 at 2 p.m., 16 Feb. 2022 April 23, 25, 26; Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, 3800 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill. Cindy Kent, Sun Sentinel, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of matinee was in 1848

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Matinee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for matinee


variants: or matinée \ ˌma-​tə-​ˈnā \

Kids Definition of matinee

: a musical or dramatic performance in the afternoon

More from Merriam-Webster on matinee

Nglish: Translation of matinee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of matinee for Arabic Speakers


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