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 Niehaus hopes most of them will support the orchestra by embracing the online season. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra switches to an all-online 2020-'21 season for subscribers," 25 Aug. 2020 Special presentation about the 19th Amendment, profiles of each organization and honoree; and performances by several of the orchestra’s female musicians. Mary Lou Cruz, sun-sentinel.com, "Virtual community, entertainment events starting Aug. 23," 21 Aug. 2020 The orchestra is hoping to perform new material on the internet over the next few months and is looking into doing a podcast. Katie V. Jones, baltimoresun.com, "Columbia Orchestra, Candlelight Concert Society adapt and struggle during coronavirus pandemic," 14 Aug. 2020 Six months later, schools across the Cincinnati area and the nation struggle to carry on with socially distant rehearsals for band and orchestra musicians in masks. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Coronavirus in Ohio: UC study examines effects of singers, band instruments," 11 Aug. 2020 In 2018, she was named teacher of the year by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for her 28-year career as a band and orchestra director. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, "Kansas could elect its first openly transgender lawmaker this fall," 5 Aug. 2020 The decision comes after the organization had to lay off its orchestra and several staff members as the coronavirus pandemic swept through Oregon in March. oregonlive, "Oregon Symphony cancels all performances for 2020, hopes to ‘tread water’ until January," 8 July 2020 At this point, the MSO is not planning to have the entire orchestra and chorus performing together onstage for live audiences until September 2021. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra switches to an all-online 2020-'21 season for subscribers," 25 Aug. 2020 Roberts surmises that the Steinway grand piano that the orchestra used during the war just might still be housed in the Novosibirsk Conservatory. Peter Tonguette, The Christian Science Monitor, "Russians took their pianos with them into exile in Siberia," 24 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for orchestra

Time Traveler

The first known use of orchestra was in 1606

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Statistics for orchestra

Last Updated

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orchestra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orchestra. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for orchestra


How to pronounce orchestra (audio)

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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