Definition of theatrical in English:

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Pronunciation: /θɪˈatrɪk(ə)l/


1Relating to acting, actors, or the theatre: 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.
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, actressy, stagy, showy, melodramatic, overacted, overdone, overripe, histrionic, actorly, affected, mannered, artificial, stilted, unreal, forced
informal hammy, ham, campy


1 (theatricals) Dramatic performances: I was persuaded to act in some amateur theatricals
More example sentences
  • He also had an interest in amateur drama and theatricals and was responsible for staging many concerts and revues in his native town.
  • He was interested in the arts and not only supported our theatricals, but often took part in productions.
  • Dickens wrote actively while acting in private theatricals as well as touring and performing readings of his works.
1.1Overdramatic behaviour: their love affair ended without theatricals
More example sentences
  • But, it is safe to say, Fanny would have been on the side of the abolitionists from the first - as much a hater of human slavery in 1811 as she was a distruster of domestic theatricals, and from the same evangelical motives.
  • The Independent on Sunday, by contrast, pulled few punches, writing of how ‘shabby theatricals and disingenuous nonsense accompany the final steps towards war’.
  • Civil service lore - at least among finance officials - is full of colourful stories of threatened resignations by ministers, walk-outs and other theatricals.
2A professional actor or actress: a boarding house that catered for theatricals
More example sentences
  • She was the late, loved Dame Thora Hird, who lived the last months of her life in Brinsworth House home for retired theatricals.
  • Yes, I can just see myself at a home for retired theatricals, beret on at a rakish angle, red shoes, lipstick up to my nose, telling people how fantastic I was at the Royal Shakespeare Company.



Pronunciation: /θɪˈatrɪkəlɪz(ə)m/
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: /θɪatrɪk(ə)lʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
(also theatricalisation) noun
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’.


(also theatricalise) verb
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 'theatre') + -al.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: the¦at|ri¦cal

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