1

theatrical

play
adjective the·at·ri·cal \ thē-ˈa-tri-kəl \
variants: or less commonly theatric play \-trik\

Definition of theatrical

1 :of or relating to the theater or the presentation of plays
  • a theatrical costume
2 :marked by pretense or artificiality of emotion
3 a :histrionic
  • a theatrical gesture
b :marked by extravagant display or exhibitionism

theatricalism

play \-kə-ˌli-zəm\ noun

theatricality

play \-ˌa-trə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun

theatrically

play \-ˈa-tri-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of theatrical in a Sentence

  1. a politician who has a highly theatrical manner of speaking

  2. after stepping out of their hired limousine, the prom couple made a theatrical entrance in their evening clothes

Recent Examples of theatrical from the Web

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

First Known Use of theatrical

1558

Synonym Discussion of theatrical

dramatic, theatrical, histrionic, melodramatic mean having a character or an effect like that of acted plays. dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply.
    • a dramatic meeting of world leaders
theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression.
    • a theatrical oration
histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess.
    • a histrionic show of grief
melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism.
    • made a melodramatic plea

Other Performing Arts Terms


2

theatrical

noun

Definition of theatrical

1 theatricals plural
a :the performance of plays
2 British :a professional actor
3 theatricals plural :showy or extravagant gestures

Recent Examples of theatrical from the Web

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

First Known Use of theatrical

circa 1683

Other Performing Arts Terms


THEATRICAL Defined for English Language Learners

theatrical

play
adjective

Definition of theatrical for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to the theater

  • : behaving or done in a way that is meant to attract attention and that is often not genuine or sincere


THEATRICAL Defined for Kids

theatrical

play
adjective the·at·ri·cal \ thē-ˈa-tri-kəl \

Definition of theatrical for Students

:for or relating to the presentation of plays
  • a theatrical production
  • theatrical costumes


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a strongly worded attack

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!