If you are sitting in a crowd of people watching actors on a stage, you're probably in a theater. If the performance is projected on a large screen, you're in a movie theater.

The Greek word for theater (theatron) comes from the verb theasthai, meaning “behold.” You are likely to behold a play or a film inside a theater. If you've dedicated your life to theater, you are probably an actor, director or playwright. Remember when you yelled “fire!” in a crowded theater and got arrested? That wasn't funny.

Definitions of theater

n a building where theatrical performances or motion-picture shows can be presented

house, theatre
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arena theater, theater in the round
a theater arranged with seats around at least three sides of the stage
cinema, movie house, movie theater, movie theatre, picture palace
a theater where films are shown
dinner theater, dinner theatre
a theater at which dinner is included in the price of admission
home theater, home theatre
television and video equipment designed to reproduce in the home the experience of being in a movie theater
little theater, little theatre
a small theater for experimental drama or collegiate or community groups
music hall, vaudeville theater, vaudeville theatre
a theater in which vaudeville is staged
opera, opera house
a building where musical dramas are performed
a South African movie theater
an old shabby movie theater
a movie theater than has several different auditoriums in the same building
Type of:
building, edifice
a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place

n the art of writing and producing plays

dramatic art, dramatics, dramaturgy, theatre
the theater as a profession (usually `the stage')
Type of:
communicating, communication
the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

n a region in which active military operations are in progress

“he served in the Vietnam theater for three years”
field, field of operations, theater of operations, theatre, theatre of operations
Type of:
a large indefinite location on the surface of the Earth

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