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audience

[aw-dee-uh ns] /ˈɔ di əns/
noun
1.
the group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers collectively, as in attendance at a theater or concert:
The audience was respectful of the speaker's opinion.
2.
the persons reached by a book, radio or television broadcast, etc.; public:
Some works of music have a wide and varied audience.
3.
a regular public that manifests interest, support, enthusiasm, or the like; a following:
Every art form has its audience.
4.
opportunity to be heard; chance to speak to or before a person or group; a hearing.
5.
a formal interview with a sovereign, high officer of government, or other high-ranking person:
an audience with the pope.
6.
the act of hearing, or attending to, words or sounds.
Origin of audience
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English < Middle French < Latin audientia. See audient, -ence
Related forms
proaudience, adjective
Usage note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for audience
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The crowd at the morning audience of the great Roman jurisconsult lessens.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • The moment a man begins to be conscious of an audience he is artistically damned.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • At first the audience supposed that this announcement was part of the play.

  • Then I as much dreaded the audience as I had wished for it before.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The actor should not stare straight into the faces of the audience, but look between them.

    The N Plays of Japan Arthur Waley
British Dictionary definitions for audience

audience

/ˈɔːdɪəns/
noun
1.
a group of spectators or listeners, esp at a public event such as a concert or play
2.
the people reached by a book, film, or radio or television programme
3.
the devotees or followers of a public entertainer, lecturer, etc; regular public
4.
an opportunity to put one's point of view, such as a formal interview with a monarch or head of state
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Latin audientia a hearing, from audīre to hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for audience
n.

late 14c., "the action of hearing," from Old French audience, from Latin audentia "a hearing, listening," from audientum (nominative audiens), present participle of audire "to hear," from PIE compound *au-dh- "to perceive physically, grasp," from root *au- "to perceive" (cf. Greek aisthanesthai "to feel;" Sanskrit avih, Avestan avish "openly, evidently;" Old Church Slavonic javiti "to reveal"). Meaning "formal hearing or reception" is from late 14c.; that of "persons within hearing range, assembly of listeners" is from early 15c. (French audience retains only the older senses). Sense transferred 1855 to "readers of a book." Audience-participation (adj.) first recorded 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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