WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
the•a•tre  (thēə tər, thēə-),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Show Businesstheater.

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
the•a•ter or thea•tre /ˈθiətɚ, ˈθitɚ/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. Show Business[countable] a building or an outdoor area for plays or motion-picture shows.
  2. [countable] a room with rows of seats, used for lectures, etc.
  3. Show Business[uncountable]
    • the theater, drama as a branch of art, esp. as a profession.
    • Show Businessa particular type, style, or category of this art:Elizabethan theater.
  4. Show Business the quality of dramatic performance:[uncountable]The play is good theater.
  5. an area of activity, esp. where military operations are under way:[countable]the Pacific theater.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
the•a•ter  (thēə tər, thēə-),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Show Businessa building, part of a building, or outdoor area for housing dramatic presentations, stage entertainments, or motion-picture shows.
  2. Show Businessthe audience at a theatrical or motion-picture performance:The theater wept.
  3. Show Businessa theatrical or acting company.
  4. a room or hall, fitted with tiers of seats rising like steps, used for lectures, surgical demonstrations, etc.:Students crowded into the operating theater.
  5. Show Businessthe theater, dramatic performances as a branch of art; the drama:an actress devoted to the theater.
  6. Show Businessdramatic works collectively, as of literature, a nation, or an author (often prec. by the):the theater of Ibsen.
  7. Show Businessthe quality or effectiveness of dramatic performance:good theater;bad theater;pure theater.
  8. a place of action;
    field of operations.
  9. a natural formation of land rising by steps or gradations.
Also,  theatre. 
  • Greek théātron seeing place, theater, equivalent. to theā-, stem of theâsthai to view + -tron suffix denoting means or place
  • Latin theātrum
  • Middle English theatre 1325–75
    • 8.See corresponding entry in Unabridged arena, site, stage, setting, scene.
    Theater, an early Middle English borrowing from French, originally had its primary stress on the second syllable: (Fr. tā ätrə).USA pronunciation As with many early French borrowings ( beauty, carriage, marriage ), the stress moved to the first syllable, in conformity with a common English pattern of stress, and this pattern remains the standard one for theater today: (thēə tər, thēə-).USA pronunciation A pronunciation with stress on the second syllable and the (ā)USA pronunciation vowel: (thē ātər)USA pronunciation or sometimes (thēā′tər)USA pronunciation is characteristic chiefly of uneducated speech.


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

theatre, US theater /ˈθɪətə/ n
  1. a building designed for the performance of plays, operas, etc
  2. a large room or hall, usually with a raised platform and tiered seats for an audience, used for lectures, film shows, etc
  3. Also called: operating theatre a room in a hospital or other medical centre equipped for surgical operations
  4. plays regarded collectively as a form of art
  5. the theatrethe world of actors, theatrical companies, etc
  6. a setting for dramatic or important events
  7. writing that is suitable for dramatic presentation: a good piece of theatre
  8. US Austral NZ
    the usual word for cinema
  9. a major area of military activity
  10. a circular or semicircular open-air building with tiers of seats
Etymology: 14th Century: from Latin theātrum, from Greek theatron place for viewing, from theasthai to look at; related to Greek thauma miracle



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