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[thee-a-tri-kuh l] /θiˈæ trɪ kəl/
adjective, Also, theatric
of or relating to the theater or dramatic presentations:
theatrical performances.
suggestive of the theater or of acting; artificial, pompous, spectacular, or extravagantly histrionic:
a theatrical display of grief.
  1. dramatic performances, now especially as given by amateurs.
  2. artificial or histrionic actions.
a professional actor:
a family of renowned theatricals.
Origin of theatrical
1550-60; < Late Latin theātric(us) < Greek theātrikós, equivalent to theā́tr(on) theater + -ikos -ic + -al1
Related forms
[thee-a-tri-kal-i-tee] /θiˌæ trɪˈkæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
theatricalness, noun
theatrically, adverb
half-theatrical, adjective
nontheatric, adjective
nontheatrical, adjective
nontheatrically, adverb
overtheatrical, adjective
overtheatrically, adverb
overtheatricalness, noun
quasi-theatrical, adjective
quasi-theatrically, adverb
semitheatric, adjective
semitheatrical, adjective
semitheatrically, adverb
untheatric, adjective
untheatrical, adjective
untheatrically, adverb
2. exaggerated, melodramatic, stagy, extravagant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for theatrically
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sir Tiglath had become really grave, not theatrically serious.

  • "We'll go to supper," said Miss Montgomery theatrically, appearing at the door.

  • Its reputation is as theatrically artificial as that of the New York Bowery.

    Nights in London Thomas Burke
  • She gave it out with pathos, paused, and was theatrically distressed.

    The Wits and Beaux of Society Grace Wharton and Philip Wharton
  • theatrically, the end of the Second Act sounds true; but it will not bear rehearing.

    Richard Wagner John F. Runciman
  • This stranger was of kingly appearance, of stately and commanding demeanour, and theatrically dressed.

    Wanderings in Corsica, Vol. 1 of 2 Ferdinand Gregorovius
  • The initiate, at Eleusis, were guided along a theatrically arranged pathway of the dead, into a theatrical Elysium.

    The Homeric Hymns Andrew Lang
British Dictionary definitions for theatrically


of or relating to the theatre or dramatic performances
exaggerated and affected in manner or behaviour; histrionic
Derived Forms
theatricality, theatricalness, noun
theatrically, adverb
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 theatrically



1550s, "pertaining to the theater," from theater + -ical. Sense of "stagy, histrionic" is attested from 1709.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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