theatrical

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

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 \ noun
theatricality \ thē-​ˌa-​trə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē \ noun
theatrically \ thē-​ˈa-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Couture traditionally ends with the bride, and several designers this season gave us performative brides for an even more theatrical big finish. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 Styles run from Gregorian chants to live bands using amplifiers, sound mixers and theatrical-lighting systems. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Why Are People Wearing Earplugs in Church? Hint: It’s Not the Sermon," 25 Jan. 2019 While Meghan's theatrical patronage was already rumored, news of the other three organizations the Duchess of Sussex will work with had yet to be revealed. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Receives Four New Royal Patronages from Queen Elizabeth," 10 Jan. 2019 This is different from Hollywood studios with theatrical releases, whose box office numbers are certified by authoritative box office tracking firms. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Netflix says over 45 million accounts watched Bird Box — here’s what that means," 30 Dec. 2018 How does the show differ from other theatrical evenings featuring hip-hop and street dance styles? Marina Harss, New York Times, "Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Dancing to Improve the World," 10 Apr. 2018 Before all of this happened, her goals were to get a theatrical agent to shift away from modeling. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "'Fiji Water Girl' Kelleth Cuthbert Tells Us: 'This Is Something I Would Go Viral For'," 7 Jan. 2019 Their appearance was theatrical: Favors and Mr. Jarman wore face paint and flamboyant robes, Bowie usually donned a white lab coat, and Mr. Mitchell often wore business suits. Martin Johnson, WSJ, "‘The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles’ Review: First-Rate Riffs From the Second City," 3 Dec. 2018 The couple’s theatrical sensibilities are evident throughout. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Inside Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin's Elegantly Theatrical New York Townhouse," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Orlando will be the last of three SeaWorld parks to end the theatrical shows, probably late next year. By Marjie Lambert, miamiherald, "Hi-tech, immersive worlds and big franchises highlight Florida theme parks’ evolution," 19 May 2017 But our commitment is to theatrical and big presentations, and so is [Cannes’s]. Rebecca Keegan, HWD, "Does Cannes Still Matter?," 16 May 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

9 Feb 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 \

Kids Definition of theatrical

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

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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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