vaudeville

noun
vaude·​ville | \ ˈvȯd-vəl How to pronounce vaudeville (audio) , ˈväd-, ˈvōd-, -ˌvil How to pronounce vaudeville (audio) ; ˈvȯ-də- How to pronounce vaudeville (audio) , ˈvä-, ˈvō- \

Definition of vaudeville

1 : a light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song
2 : stage entertainment consisting of various acts (such as performing animals, comedians, or singers)

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Other Words from vaudeville

vaudevillian \ ˌvȯd-​ˈvil-​yən How to pronounce vaudeville (audio) , ˌväd-​ , ˌvōd-​ ; ˌvȯ-​də-​ , ˌvä-​ , ˌvō-​ \ noun or adjective

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In the 15th century, several amusing songs became popular across France. These songs were said to have been written by a man named Olivier Basselin who lived in the valley of the river Vire in northwest France. The songs eventually became known as chansons de vau-de-Vire, meaning "songs of the valley of Vire." Other people began writing and performing similar songs, and as this form of entertainment became more widespread, the link to vau-de-Vire was forgotten. The nickname was shortened to one word, vaudevire. As the phenomenon spread beyond France, further changes in pronunciation and spelling shifted vaudevire into vaudeville. The meaning also broadened to include humorous performances and variety shows.

Examples of vaudeville in a Sentence

She became a big star in vaudeville.
Recent Examples on the Web The brown, green and rust-colored shreds of algae made the beach look like the floor of a vaudeville dressing room at showtime. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 June 2021 Meanwhile Miller and Lyles, having found their footing in Chicago, had been headlining in the best vaudeville houses in the country and overseas. John Check, WSJ, 21 May 2021 Upon rewatching the episodes on Disney+, I was reminded of the program’s subversive, near-sadistic vaudeville. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 17 Apr. 2021 Built in the 1890s, the building originally housed a vaudeville and burlesque theater. Cornelia Channing, Curbed, 15 May 2021 The historical vaudeville performance house that was once known as the Emery Majestic Theater on Washington Street will finally raise the curtain for in-person shows this year. BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2021 Born Gertrude Pridgett, Rainey was one of the earliest Black professional blues singers and one of the first to ever even record music, helping to transition vaudeville to Southern blues while influencing future generations of blues singers. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 26 Apr. 2021 But theater employees, every bit as enamored as fans who returned last week, argued that movie houses can never go the way of vaudeville. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2021 Born Gertrude Pridgett, Rainey was one of the earliest Black professional blues singers and one of the first to ever even record music, helping to transition vaudeville to Southern blues while influencing future generations of blues singers. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 26 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vaudeville.' 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 vaudeville

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vaudeville

borrowed from French, "satirical song, comic theatrical piece," going back to Middle French (chançons de) vaul de ville "topical satirical songs," earlier vau de vire, named (according to 16th-century French authors) after the val de Vire, valley of the Vire River in Normandy, where such songs were allegedly composed

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Time Traveler for vaudeville

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The first known use of vaudeville was in 1827

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vaudeville.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vaudeville. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for vaudeville

vaudeville

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vaudeville

US : a type of entertainment that was popular in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that had many different performers doing songs, dances, and comic acts

vaudeville

noun
vaude·​ville | \ ˈvȯd-vəl How to pronounce vaudeville (audio) \

Kids Definition of vaudeville

: theatrical entertainment made up of songs, dances, and comic acts

More from Merriam-Webster on vaudeville

Nglish: Translation of vaudeville for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vaudeville

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