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 Kahkonen could start Friday’s matinee against the Ottawa Senators at Xcel Energy Center. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Wild’s Kaapo Kahkonen impressed in NHL debut. What’s next for him?," 27 Nov. 2019 On March 14, the group will perform two shows at the House of Blues Boston including a matinee performance and an evening acoustic set followed by a full professional boxing card presented by Murphys Boxing. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Dropkick Murphy's Announce 2020 St. Patrick's Day Boston Blowout," 26 Nov. 2019 Sunday’s matinee was mostly populated by audience members closer to Morrie’s age, or exceeding it. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Review: Cherry Creek Theatre’s “Tuesdays With Morrie” is a warm, familiar treat," 7 Nov. 2019 An additional matinee performance will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. Discounts are available for seniors and students., "Community News For The Manchester Edition," 6 Nov. 2019 Mike Yastrzemski, 29, and Mauricio Dubon, 25, each homered and doubled to lift the Giants to an 8-3 win in Thursday’s matinee at Oracle Park, the capper to the penultimate series for manager Bruce Bochy. John Shea,, "Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon ignite Giants’ win, make statements for 2020," 26 Sep. 2019 Fans driving to weekday matinees and all weekend games will have to pay $50 to park — $10 more than this season. Henry Schulman,, "Giants plan huge changes to 2020 parking as they eliminate hundreds of spaces," 29 Oct. 2019 The Detroit Red Wings used that momentum to liven up the third period of their Sunday matinee against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues at Little Caesars Arena. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings finally find offense, but still miss a win in 5-4 OT loss to Blues," 27 Oct. 2019 Hewitt will give a public talk about her work with PAAL following the play’s 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 3. Christopher Arnott,, "Let’s get real about parenting: 'Cry It Out’ at Hartford Stage a comedic drama about ‘the fourth trimester’," 24 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for matinee

Time Traveler

The first known use of matinee was in 1848

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Statistics for matinee

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Matinee.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for matinee


How to pronounce matinee (audio)

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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