parterre

play
noun par·terre \pär-ˈter\

Definition of parterre

  1. 1 :  an ornamental garden with paths between the beds

  2. 2 :  the part of the main floor of a theater that is behind the orchestra; especially :  parquet circle

Recent Examples of parterre from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parterre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

parterre Has French Roots

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


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