theater

noun
the·​ater | \ ˈthē-ə-tər, ˈthēə-, usually in Southern ˈthē-ˌā- also thē-ˈā- \
variants: or theatre

Definition of theater

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a building or area for dramatic performances
b : a building or area for showing motion pictures
c : an outdoor structure for dramatic performances or spectacles in ancient Greece and Rome
2a : dramatic literature : plays
b : dramatic representation as an art or profession : drama
3 : a place or sphere of enactment of usually significant events or action the theater of public life
4a : a place rising by steps or gradations a woody theater of stateliest view— John Milton
b : a room often with rising tiers of seats for assemblies (as for lectures or surgical demonstrations)
5a : dramatic or theatrical quality or effectiveness
c : entertainment in the form of a dramatic or diverting situation or series of events their public feud made for good theater

theater

adjective

Definition of theater (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or appropriate for use in a theater of operations theater nuclear weapons

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Synonyms for theater

Synonyms: Noun

cinema, playhouse

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Examples of theater in a Sentence

Noun

the oldest theater in the city the theater district in New York City The film is now showing in theaters. We enjoyed a weekend of music, dance, and theater. He was very fond of the theater and had purchased tickets for several performances. Her interests include theater and poetry. the theater of 16th-century England She majored in theater in college. a course in American theater His monologues made for good theater.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Get away from the stress of work, family, and the business of everyday life by escaping to a movie theater where you can get lost in the story. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Woman's Day, "30 Fun Things to Do By Yourself in Your Lifetime," 3 Jan. 2019 These new findings don’t mean that everything that happened in the experiment was theater. Julia Belluz, Vox, "7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 The screens and projectors in movie theaters were equipped to show it. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 Rooms are programmed for specific activities: craft rooms, man caves, movie theaters. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "Building houses that grow with us," 14 Nov. 2018 Why Locals Hang Out at the Airport Changi Airport already puts the JFKs of the world to shame with its feel-good amenities like a butterfly garden and a movie theater. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Singapore: The (Mini) Black Book," 14 Nov. 2018 Most religious art is visual theater, none more so than the great Roman Catholic Church paintings of 18th-century Mexico, which are at the center of this extraordinary exhibition, one of the high points of the season. New York Times, "23 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 The Altamonte Mall is also anchored by J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Dillards and an AMC movie theater. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Sears adds Altamonte Mall store to closing list," 29 June 2018 And to celebrate, Fathom Events and Twentieth Century Fox are showing the classic flick in movie theaters for two days, July 22 and 24. Sallee Ann Ruibal, Cincinnati.com, "Here's where you can see 'The Sandlot' in theaters, Cincinnati," 28 June 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

Adjective

1977, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for theater

Noun

Middle English theatre, from Middle French, from Latin theatrum, from Greek theatron, from theasthai to view, from thea act of seeing; akin to Greek thauma miracle

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Statistics for theater

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for theater

The first known use of theater was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for theater

theater

noun

English Language Learners Definition of theater

: a building where plays, shows, etc., are performed on a stage

: a building or room in which movies are shown

: plays in general or as a form of entertainment

theater

noun
the·​ater
variants: or theatre \ ˈthē-​ə-​tər \

Kids Definition of theater

1 : a building in which plays, motion pictures, or shows are presented
2 : the art or profession of producing plays
3 : plays or the performance of plays
4 : a place or area where some important action is carried on a theater of war

theater

noun
the·​ater
variants: or theatre \ ˈthē-​ət-​ər \

Medical Definition of theater

1 : a room often with rising tiers of seats for assemblies (as for lectures or surgical demonstrations)
2 usually theatre, British : a hospital operating room

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More from Merriam-Webster on theater

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with theater

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for theater

Spanish Central: Translation of theater

Nglish: Translation of theater for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of theater for Arabic Speakers

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