If you're watching a college basketball game in person, chances are you're in an arena — a building specially designed for sporting events and large-scale rock concerts.

There's not much difference between an arena and a stadium, although an arena is enclosed and a stadium sometimes has an open roof. Football is usually played in a stadium, while basketball and other sports typically hold their games in arenas. The word arena originally meant "place of combat," and it's sometimes still used this way. Its root is harena, a kind of sand that was supposedly used on the floor during ancient Roman battles to soak up spilled blood.

Primary Meanings of arena

a large structure for open-air sports or entertainments
a particular environment or walk of life
Full Definitions of arena

n a large structure for open-air sports or entertainments

bowl, sports stadium, stadium
Amphitheatrum Flavium
a large amphitheater in Rome whose construction was begun by Vespasian about AD 75 or 80
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amphitheater, amphitheatre, coliseum
an oval large stadium with tiers of seats; an arena in which contests and spectacles are held
ballpark, park
a facility in which ball games are played (especially baseball games)
a stadium where bullfights take place
(antiquity) an open-air stadium for chariot races and gladiatorial games
covered stadium, dome, domed stadium
a stadium that has a roof
football stadium
a stadium where football games are held
a stadium for horse shows or horse races
an elevated box for viewing events at a sports stadium
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

n a playing field where sports events take place

scene of action
an arena consisting of an oval or circular area enclosed by tiers of seats and usually covered by a tent
Type of:
athletic field, field, playing area, playing field
a piece of land prepared for playing a game

n the central area of an ancient Roman amphitheater where contests and spectacles were held; especially an area that was strewn with sand

Type of:
area, country
a particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography)

n a particular environment or walk of life

area, domain, field, orbit, sphere
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the sphere of work by women
a sphere of activity involving effort
kingdom, land, realm
a domain in which something is dominant
an area of control or responsibility
political arena, political sphere
a sphere of intense political activity
a domain that seems to be specially reserved for someone
province, responsibility
the proper sphere or extent of your activities
lotus land, lotusland
an idyllic realm of contentment and self-indulgence
lap of the gods
beyond human control or responsibility
ecclesiastical province
the district within the jurisdiction of an archbishop or a metropolitan or one of the territorial divisions of an ecclesiastical order
Type of:
the totality of surrounding conditions

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