or·​ches·​tra | \ ˈȯr-kə-strə How to pronounce orchestra (audio) , -ˌke-\

Definition of orchestra

1a : the circular space used by the chorus in front of the proscenium in an ancient Greek theater
b : a corresponding semicircular space in a Roman theater used for seating important persons
2a : the space in front of the stage in a modern theater that is used by an orchestra
b : the forward section of seats on the main floor of a theater
c : the main floor of a theater
3 : a group of musicians including especially string players organized to perform ensemble music — compare band

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Examples of orchestra in a Sentence

He plays violin in the school orchestra. the orchestra will be performing a selection of Beethoven pieces tomorrow night

Recent Examples on the Web

John Morris Russell leads orchestra with special appearance by U.S. Army Chorus and Rozzi’s fireworks. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: July 2-8," 2 July 2018 Conductor Sameer Patel leads the orchestra in works by Russian composers. Beth Wood, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Summer arts preview: Top 5 classical picks," 13 May 2018 Assistant conductor Stephan Mulligan and associate concertmaster Justin Bruns will lead the orchestra during an evening that many would describe as magnifico. Nicole D. Smith, ajc, "Things to do in and around Atlanta for Thursday, May 10," 11 May 2018 Many of the 14 violins on display were played in orchestras at concentration camps. Greg Garrison, AL.com, "Holocaust violins come to life in Birmingham," 11 Apr. 2018 Music director Jamie Johns conducts the orchestra in the pit, comprising a handful of touring musicians joined by 10 local instrumentalists, creating a lush sound that is brightened by some revisions in the orchestrations. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "'Phantom of the Opera' revisits Saenger with fresh new production that maintains the magic," 19 Mar. 2018 Led by music director Josh Pepper, the musicians will be in the orchestra pit, which is more typically used for the shows upstairs. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "The Public puts the audience in the midst of ‘Assassins’," 31 May 2018 Portland State University’s School of Music & Theater presents this joint concert that brings together onstage, for the first time, the university’s Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra, performing music for big band and orchestra. Amy Wang | The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Arts picks: A new 'Cinderella' tale, Jackson Bottom Wetlands art show, more," 31 May 2018 One major difference from last year’s performances is the presence of guest conductor Ming Luke in the orchestra pit. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Ballet reawakens ‘Sleeping Beauty’," 12 May 2018

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

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for orchestra

Latin, from Greek orchēstra, from orcheisthai to dance; perhaps akin to Sanskrit ṛghāyati he trembles, he rages

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Statistics for orchestra

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for orchestra

The first known use of orchestra was in 1606

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More Definitions for orchestra



English Language Learners Definition of orchestra

: a group of musicians who play usually classical music together and who are led by a conductor
US : a group of seats in a theater that are close to the stage


or·​ches·​tra | \ ˈȯr-kə-strə How to pronounce orchestra (audio) \

Kids Definition of orchestra

1 : a group of musicians who perform instrumental music using mostly stringed instruments
2 : the front part of the main floor in a theater

Other Words from orchestra

orchestral \ ȯr-​ˈke-​strəl \ adjective

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Comments on orchestra

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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