theatrical

adjective
the·​at·​ri·​cal | \ thē-ˈa-tri-kəl How to pronounce theatrical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly theatric \ thē-​ˈa-​trik How to pronounce theatric (audio) \

Definition of theatrical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

theatrical

noun

Definition of theatrical (Entry 2 of 2)

1 theatricals plural

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

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Other Words from theatrical

Adjective

theatricalism \ thē-​ˈa-​tri-​kə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce theatricalism (audio) \ noun
theatricality \ thē-​ˌa-​trə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce theatricality (audio) \ noun
theatrically \ thē-​ˈa-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce theatrically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for theatrical

Synonyms: Adjective

dramatic, hammy, histrionic, melodramatic, stagy (or stagey)

Antonyms: Adjective

undramatic

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Choose the Right Synonym for theatrical

Adjective

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

Examples of theatrical in a Sentence

Adjective

a politician who has a highly theatrical manner of speaking after stepping out of their hired limousine, the prom couple made a theatrical entrance in their evening clothes

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The title is a play on the theatrical with the dress center stage. San Diego Union-Tribune, "In Oceanside Museum of Art’s ‘Dress Rehearsal,’ artists use garment in unexpected ways," 21 Aug. 2019 The dilution of what constitutes real danger manifests in everything from far-right and far-left extremists engaging in violent and theatrical clashes to the vivisection of individuals’ social-media accounts in search of sins against propriety. Noah Rothman, National Review, "Kevin Williamson’s Revolt against the Hivemind," 25 July 2019 The two-tiered Arles Arena, modeled after Rome’s Coliseum, invites spectators to watch spectacles and concerts, including summer Tuesdays when theatrical and sporting events pay homage to the chariot-racing, gladiatorial days of yore. Kimberley Lovato, National Geographic, "5 beautiful cities in France for avoiding the Paris crowds," 24 July 2019 Marvel’s time at Hall H last night was a reminder that, over the next three years, Disney’s superhero division is set to dominate both theatrical and streaming worlds. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Avengers: Endgame finally passes Avatar as the biggest movie of all time," 21 July 2019 There has long been concern that Trump’s penchant for the theatrical could undermine American foreign policy and global security, holding the world hostage to his mercurial turns on the stage. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Meaning of Trump’s Historic North Korean Jaunt, in One Image," 2 July 2019 The overall feel of this restaurant is very immersive, even theatrical. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "This East Village Restaurant Will Transport You to the Mediterranean," 25 June 2019 Thomas branched out to collaborate with romantic partners, friends and trans women, always capturing something both theatrical and intensely real. Gayle Clemans, The Seattle Times, "‘MUSE’ offers a look at painter Mickalene Thomas’ photography — and at the artist herself," 23 Aug. 2018 The replay showed Pepe’s dive to be both unwarranted and theatrical, and the goal correctly stood. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Video replay (VAR) is a joke, and it's making the World Cup worse," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

California becomes the first state to ban the breeding of killer whales and the use of them in theatrical shows. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SeaWorld: a decade of turbulence and triumphs," 22 June 2019 The criticisms are not unlike the kind of sharp verbal attacks PETA has leveled at SeaWorld over the years about the parks’ captive orcas and their participation in theatrical shows. Sam Hodgson/the San Diego Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "PETA’s latest demand: End ‘circus-style’ dolphin shows at SeaWorld," 5 June 2019 The Tony Awards are here, and with 10 nominations under its belt and record-breaking box office numbers since its debut in the U.S. on April 22, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a theatrical must for Muggles and wizards alike. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Broadway's 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'," 10 June 2018 My wheelhouse is much more magic mystery theatrical based. Nicole Pajer, Billboard, "'Lip Sync Battle Live': Hailee Steinfeld, Laverne Cox, Taraji P. Henson & Neil Patrick Harris Tackle the King of Pop," 19 Jan. 2018 To be able to celebrate last night the span of theatrical with Evan Hansen to electronic with Kraftwerk to alternative and pop with Portugal. Colin Stutz, Billboard, "Atlantic's Julie Greenwald on Celebrating Label's 13 Grammy Wins: 'I Haven't Felt This Way Since College'," 29 Jan. 2018 So much theatrical happens in the piece, verging on aural cartooning, that some in the audience took Baker’s announcement as part of the composition, reacting with chuckles. Alan G. Artner, chicagotribune.com, "Talea Ensemble opens Contempo series with rare, exceptional program," 28 Oct. 2017 But studios have countered that theatrical has become a larger share of the revenue because of the collapse in DVD sales, one of the people said. Fortune, "This Map Will Show You the World’s Most Expensive Stock Markets," 19 Aug. 2017 There’s a lot of debate with filmmakers over streaming vs. theatrical. Jon Niccum, kansascity, "Thanks, Netflix: Here’s where to find acclaimed movies shot by KC filmmakers," 3 Aug. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of theatrical

Adjective

1558, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1683, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for theatrical

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for theatrical

The first known use of theatrical was in 1558

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More Definitions for theatrical

theatrical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of theatrical

: 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

adjective
the·​at·​ri·​cal | \ thē-ˈa-tri-kəl How to pronounce theatrical (audio) \

Kids Definition of theatrical

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

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