Definition of parterre
1 : an ornamental garden with paths between the beds
2 : the part of the main floor of a theater that is behind the orchestra; especially : parquet circle
Did You Know?
Parterre comes to English by way of French, where it means "on the ground". And in the early years of the theater, the parterre was truly on the ground. In Shakespeare's day, an English theater's parterre was the cheap standing-room area right in front of the stage, normally filled with rowdy spectators. The original idea of the French parterre garden, with its carefully designed plots and walkways, was to present an artistic pattern when seen from above—from a balcony, a raised terrace, or the top of an outdoor staircase. English gardeners responded with garden designs that tried to make their viewers half-forget that they were seeing something created by humans rather than untamed nature itself.
Origin and Etymology of parterre
French, from Middle French, from par terre on the ground
First Known Use: circa 1625
Learn More about parterre
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about parterre
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up parterre? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).