Definition of vaudeville
1 : a light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song
2 : stage entertainment consisting of various acts (as performing animals, comedians, or singers)
vaudevillianplay \ˌvȯd-ˈvil-yən, ˌväd-, ˌvōd-; ˌvȯ-də-, ˌvä-, ˌvō-\ noun or adjective
Examples of vaudeville in a sentence
She became a big star in vaudeville.
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of vaudeville
borrowed from French, “satirical song, comic theatrical piece,” going back to Medieval 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
First Known Use: 1827
VAUDEVILLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vaudeville for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of vaudeville for Students
: theatrical entertainment made up of songs, dances, and comic acts
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up vaudeville? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).