mise-en-scène

1
as in decor
the array of painted backgrounds and furnishings used to establish the setting in a stage production an era in which the mise-en-scène of Broadway musicals became ever more spectacular

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2
as in atmosphere
the circumstances, conditions, or objects by which one is surrounded the movie captures the mise-en-scène of strife and desperation in a country torn apart by civil war

Synonyms & Similar Words

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How is the word mise-en-scène distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of mise-en-scène are background, environment, milieu, and setting. While all these words mean "the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs," mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect.

a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène

When could background be used to replace mise-en-scène?

The synonyms background and mise-en-scène are sometimes interchangeable, but background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development.

the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots

When can environment be used instead of mise-en-scène?

The words environment and mise-en-scène are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development.

the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents

In what contexts can milieu take the place of mise-en-scène?

While in some cases nearly identical to mise-en-scène, milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons.

an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation

When might setting be a better fit than mise-en-scène?

Although the words setting and mise-en-scène have much in common, setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms.

a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting

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Cite this Entry

“Mise-en-scène.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/mise-en-sc%C3%A8ne. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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