or·​ches·​tra | \ˈȯr-kə-strə, -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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Other orchestra members are conga player and percussionist Willie Vazquez, drum and timbales player Rob Castaneda, bassist Art Lopez and keyboardist Jimmy Hernandez. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Latin Satin Soul performs at free Whiting concert series," 12 July 2018 Will the orchestra travel with you, or be made up of local musicians here in Charlotte? Cristina B Bolling, charlotteobserver, "Lindsey Stirling and her electric violin to get a jolt of Charlotte flavor in concert," 9 July 2018 Festival orchestra concerts presented The second of three 2018 Festival Orchestra concerts with award-winning Artistic Director and Conductor Alyze Dreiling will be at 4 p.m. Sunday. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Escondido gets 90+ firefighting jackets," 5 July 2018 For most of that intermission, the second in the opera, the orchestra pit was nearly empty. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, "S.F. Opera showed off its gleaming ‘Ring’," 1 July 2018 In a standard orchestra piece, there is one maestro on the podium, leading all the players. Farah Nayeri, New York Times, "109 Players. 3 Conductors. It’s Even Harder Than It Sounds.," 29 June 2018 Orchestra Noir, a hip-hop orchestra group, and the Ballethnic Dance Company performed for the crowd. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See Exclusive Photos From Cardi B’s Bronx Fairy-Tale Baby Shower," 28 June 2018 Week-long festival of classical and pops orchestra concerts in McCall. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Big July Calendar: Month is lit with fireworks, comic con and the Canyon County Fair," 28 June 2018 Originally based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale conjured up a possible future where the conservative strings in our nation swell and drown out the rest of the nation’s orchestra. refinery29.com, "This Week's Handmaid’s Tale Is Devastatingly Similar To What's Happening On The Border Right Now," 20 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about orchestra

Statistics for orchestra

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orchestra

The first known use of orchestra was in 1606

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

the orchestra : a group of seats in a theater that are close to the stage


or·​ches·​tra | \ˈȯr-kə-strə \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!