theater

noun
the·​ater | \ ˈthē-ə-tər How to pronounce theater (audio) , ˈthēə-, usually in Southern ˈthē-ˌā- also thē-ˈā- How to pronounce theater (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for theater

Synonyms: Noun

cinema, playhouse

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From purple and blue wigs to her iconic purple jumpsuit made to cover only one boob, every red carpet appearance was pure theater and every music video an opportunity for the fashion to really come alive. Scarlett Newman, Teen Vogue, "A Deep Dive Into Black Culture and Camp," 3 May 2019 There are hundreds of businesses here, including modern multi-level shopping malls, historic shops, theaters, and hotels. Adrienne Faurote, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Shanghai, China," 5 Apr. 2019 The roadwork also revealed several other tombs nearby, as well as an ancient theater and a row of columns. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient “comic strip” depicts the founding of a Roman city," 10 Oct. 2018 Check out some more reactions to the movie and trailer for yourself, below: Booksmart hits theaters May 24, 2019. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Olivia Wilde’s New Movie Looks Like the Female Superbad—and People Are Thrilled," 11 Mar. 2019 In the event, the movie moguls lost and were forced to sell their theaters. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "‘Hollywood Godfather’ Review: Shaking Down Tinseltown," 27 Dec. 2018 The greatness of America happening right in front of our eyes at our local movie theaters. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, ""Crazy Rich Asians" Topped the Box Office with a $25.2 Million Opening Weekend," 19 Aug. 2018 In her small Sumner theater, El Teatro Osminog Blanco, 16 garments in various states of decay or fragmentation are suspended from the ceiling by string and clothespins. Alan Berner, The Seattle Times, "This isn’t for everyone: Sumner dancer tries to ‘wake up senses’ with strange art of butoh," 17 July 2018 Management is also rebuilding its Hard Rock Live theater to increase seating to accommodate 7,000 patrons. David Lyons, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood tops off guitar-shaped hotel," 9 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about theater

Statistics for theater

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for theater

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for theater

theater

noun

English Language Learners Definition of theater

: a building where plays, shows, etc., are performed on a stage
US : 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 How to pronounce theatre (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on theater

What made you want to look up theater? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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