Share this entry

orchestra Line breaks: or¦ches|tra
Pronunciation: /ˈɔːkɪstrə/

Definition of orchestra in English:


1 [treated as singular or plural] A group of instrumentalists, especially one combining string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections and playing classical music.
Example sentences
  • Numbering more than 15,000, Boosey publications are a staple for serious musicians of all instruments, and for concert bands, orchestras and choirs.
  • The brass section of an orchestra typically consists of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas.
  • Calfe also is active in her high school marching, concert and jazz bands, orchestra and percussion ensemble.
2 (also orchestra pit) The part of a theatre where the orchestra plays, typically in front of the stage and on a lower level.
Example sentences
  • This could be lowered for an orchestra pit; raised to match the floor level just in front of the stage, where it could support three rows of seating; or raised further to the stage's level, increasing its frontal floor area.
  • During an orchestra rehearsal for New York City Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon rushes onto the stage from the audience, nimbly maneuvering over a narrow strip between the proscenium and the orchestra pit.
  • He's been keeping her in the orchestra pit under the stage all this time.
2.1North American The stalls in a theatre.
3The semicircular space in front of an ancient Greek theatre stage where the chorus danced and sang.
Example sentences
  • An exceptional feature of the theatre is the fact that a small stream was channelled through the space between the orchestra and the back of the proscenium.


Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek orkhēstra, from orkheisthai 'to dance'.

Words that rhyme with orchestra

algebra • vertebra

Definition of orchestra in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources