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

Photo: William Steel/NHFU Angela Bassett puts an appropriately theatrical spin on the narration, which seems poised at times to topple into the quicksand of overkill. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Flood’ Review: Overflowing With Beauty," 22 Nov. 2018 Historically, white actors appeared in early Hollywood films and stage plays wearing brown or black theatrical makeup to perform as silly and exaggerated caricatures of black people. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Some White Influencers Are Being Accused of "Blackfishing," or Using Makeup to Appear Black," 16 Nov. 2018 Later on, after relocating to a palatial apartment in the Osborne, on 57th Street, Foy and Lerman constructed a fittingly theatrical backdrop for the gatherings. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Gray Foy, a Master Precisionist Who Presided Over Legendary Salons, Gets a Turn in the Spotlight," 16 Nov. 2018 The Crimes of Grindelwald will be in wide theatrical release in America on November 16th, 2018. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Even for the Harry Potter hardcore, Crimes of Grindelwald is one convoluted movie," 8 Nov. 2018 The sidewalk outside Jumbo Slice is inexplicably littered with blonde and pink wigs, like the scene of some theatrical supply crime. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Loud, Crowded, Grease-Stained, and Gloriously Drunk: Where the World Eats After Hours," 8 Oct. 2018 According to the New York Times, the artist Robert Gober had no less than 70 meetings with Phifer’s team to build out his specialized gallery, which required new plumbing, theatrical lighting, and lowered ceilings. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Glenstone Museum to open its stunning minimalist expansion next week," 26 Sep. 2018 Sony canceled the theatrical release of the film amid threats to moviegoers but released it online through YouTube and other sites. Greg Norman, Fox News, "North Korean computer programmer charged by Justice Department for 2014 Sony hack," 6 Sep. 2018 Beyond theatrical drinking, there is also the somewhat dystopian idea that such a drone could eliminate the coffee break. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "IBM Files Patent For a Coffee Delivery Drone," 24 Aug. 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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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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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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