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amphitheater

[am-fuh-thee-uh-ter, -theeuh-ter] /ˈæm fəˌθi ə tər, -ˌθiə tər/
noun
1.
an oval or round building with tiers of seats around a central open area, as those used in ancient Rome for gladiatorial contests.
2.
any similar place for public contests, games, performances, exhibitions, etc.; an arena, stadium, or auditorium.
3.
a room having tiers of seats arranged around a central area, in which students and other observers can view surgery, hear lectures, etc.
4.
British.
  1. the first section of seats in the gallery of a theater.
  2. a designated section of seats in any part of a theater.
5.
a level area of oval or circular shape surrounded by rising ground.
Also, amphitheatre.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; < Latin amphitheātrum < Greek amphithéātron. See amphi-, theater
Related forms
amphitheatric
[am-fuh-thee-a-trik] /ˌæm fə θiˈæ trɪk/ (Show IPA),
amphitheatrical, adjective
amphitheatrically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for amphitheaters
amphitheater
1540s, from L. amphitheatrum, from Gk. amphitheatron, neut. of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi- "on both sides" + theatron "theater," from theasthai "watch, look at" (see theater). Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphi-theater.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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