Definition of theatrical in English:

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Pronunciation: /THēˈatrək(ə)l/


1Of, for, or relating to acting, actors, or the theater: theatrical productions
More example sentences
  • To some, he is a theatrical god, to others, an egotistical showman.
  • He has recently performed in successful theatrical productions of Beau Brummel and Sleuth in the West End.
  • Fair enough, he criticises the theatrical performance, the acting, the drama, the setting.
informal show-biz
formal histrionic
1.1Exaggerated and excessively dramatic: Henry looked over his shoulder with theatrical caution
More example sentences
  • He opted for a strong theatrical style, exaggerating every tone and gesture and playing with great energy and ebullience.
  • Perhaps the music is theatrical and dramatic, and that is what it's all about.
  • Her interpretations are dramatic, even theatrical, but never ‘over the top’.
exaggerated, ostentatious, stagy, showy, melodramatic, overacted, overdone, histrionic, over-the-top, artificial, affected, mannered
informal hammy, ham, camp



Pronunciation: /THēˈatrəkəˌlizəm/
Example sentences
  • Originally a reaction against realism in theater, ‘theatricalism’ reveals the machinations and artifice of theater.’
  • Finally, Marshall W. Mason's superb direction, using John Lee Beatty's outstanding set design, also helped to potentiate the theatricalism of the piece.
  • And his initial reaction to the food is overwrought: In one scene he vomits immediately after eating, and it reeks of theatricalism.


Pronunciation: /-ˌatrikəliˈzāSHən/
Example sentences
  • Hoyt pictures immigrants sympathetically, narrating stories of individuals detained, reunited, and deported, and importantly, her presentation depends upon theatricalization.
  • The method of installation art, his use of everyday objects in conjunction with his photographs, his careful use of light and shadow all speak of a theatricalization of memory and self.
  • One result of this theatricalization was a complex eroticism produced out of ‘a voyeuristic bond between mannequin and spectator’.


Pronunciation: /-ˌlīz/
Example sentences
  • That Manet might have intended a subtle effect of theatricalizing the movement and location of the cortège is suggested by the presence of an observer who watches the funeral procession.
  • And therein lies the seed of the paradox that led Inglis to enlist Schmidt's help in theatricalizing the poem.
  • In contrast to that meditation on power, ‘Meetings’ chronicles and theatricalizes small-town democracy in action.


Mid 16th century: via late Latin from Greek theatrikos (from theatron 'theater') + -al.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: the·at·ri·cal

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