Definition of audience in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈôdēəns/


1The assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting: the orchestra was given an enthusiastic ovation from the audience
More example sentences
  • Oddly, for the first time all year, the meeting had a public audience.
  • Scheduled to be released in April, this is one film which will entertain audiences not in theatres but in school halls.
  • I never understood the screaming hysteria, swooning, and sobbing that seem conventional behaviour for thronging female audiences at big rock concerts.
spectators, listeners, viewers, onlookers, patrons;
crowd, throng, congregation, turnout;
house, gallery
1.1The people who watch or listen to a television or radio program: the program attracted an audience of almost twenty million
More example sentences
  • What is it that makes Fox News work so well at attracting a big audience on television but not online?
  • He has a proven track record in developing innovative, award winning programmes which the BBC audiences love.
  • And programme promoters say they're attracting growing television audiences, which now stand at over 800,000.
market, public, following, fans;
listenership, viewership
1.2The readership of a book, magazine, or newspaper: the newspaper has a sophisticated audience
More example sentences
  • Newspapers get the daily reader, while a magazine audience accumulates over time.
  • Clients and other audiences for the book will want to see more than just pretty pictures.
  • Written for the general audience, this book could captivate any reader.
1.3The people giving or likely to give attention to something: there will always be an audience for romantic literature
More example sentences
  • But there are ways of improving your chances of garnering attention and gaining an audience.
  • There are many ways you can make sure your marketing materials grab the attention of your audience.
  • Later, chromolithographed posters brought their products to the attention of a wider audience.
2A formal interview with a person in authority: he demanded an audience with the Pope
More example sentences
  • His meals begin with breakfast at 8am, after which he goes to his study for two hours of reading and writing, followed by two hours of formal audiences before lunch.
  • No other of the Enlightened Despots was more fond than Gustav of the time-wasting rituals of court life, the levees, formal audiences and ceremonial entries and exits.
  • Pope John Paul II dedicated his weekly general audience at the Vatican to commemorate the attacks.
3 archaic Formal hearing.
Example sentences
  • He did not have a right of audience in relation to the hearing on 9 September 2002.
meeting, consultation, conference, hearing, reception, interview
informal meet-and-greet


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin audientia, from audire 'hear'.

  • When people go to the theatre they generally talk about going to ‘see’ a play, but in former times the usual verb was ‘hear’. In keeping with this idea, the oldest meaning of audience is ‘hearing, attention to what is spoken’. Audience is based on the Latin word audire ‘to hear’ also found in audible (Late Middle English), ‘able to be heard’. An auditorium (early 17th century), originally a Latin word, was a place for hearing something. Before it meant a trial performance of an actor or singer, audition (late 16th century) was the act of hearing or listening. And an audit (Late Middle English) was originally a hearing, in particular a judicial hearing of some kind—it was later used as the term for the reading out of a set of accounts, hence the modern meaning.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: au·di·ence

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.