variants: also theatric

Synonyms & Antonyms of theatrical

1 given to or marked by attention-getting behavior suggestive of stage acting
  • after stepping out of their hired limousine, the prom couple made a theatrical entrance in their evening clothes

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2 having the general quality or effect of a stage performance
  • in a very theatrical voice the actress announced to the gathering that she did not sign autographs

Synonyms for theatrical

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Frequently Asked Questions About theatrical

How is the word theatrical distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of theatrical are dramatic, histrionic, and melodramatic. While all these words mean "having a character or an effect like that of acted plays," theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression.

a theatrical oration

When would dramatic be a good substitute for theatrical?

While in some cases nearly identical to theatrical, dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply.

a dramatic meeting of world leaders

When might histrionic be a better fit than theatrical?

The synonyms histrionic and theatrical are sometimes interchangeable, but histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess.

a histrionic show of grief

When is it sensible to use melodramatic instead of theatrical?

In some situations, the words melodramatic and theatrical are roughly equivalent. However, melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism.

made a melodramatic plea

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Time Traveler for theatrical

Time Traveler

The first known use of theatrical was in 1558

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Cite this Entry

“Theatrical.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on theatrical

Dictionary: Definition of theatrical

Nglish: Translation of theatrical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of theatrical for Arabic Speakers

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