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See also: théatre and théâtre



From Middle English theater, theatre, from Old French theatre, from Latin theatrum, from Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatron, a place for viewing), from θεάομαι (theáomai, to see, watch, observe).


  • like theater
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  • Hyphenation: thea‧tre
  • Hyphenation: the‧a‧tre


theatre (countable and uncountable, plural theatres)

  1. (chiefly Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK) Alternative spelling of theater
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      Mother [] considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, from which every Kensingtonian held aloof, except on the conventional tip-and-run excursions in pursuit of shopping, tea and theatres.
    • 2012 May 13, Phil McNulty, “Man City 3-2 QPR”, in BBC Sport:
      City's players and supporters travelled from one end of the emotional scale to the other in those vital seconds, providing a truly remarkable piece of football theatre and the most dramatic conclusion to a season in Premier League history.
  2. (Canada, rarely Australia and New Zealand) A cinema; movie theatre.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The spelling theatre is the main spelling in British English, with theater being rare.
  • The spelling theater is the predominant American spelling; it accounts for about 80% of usage in COCA (the major corpus of American English). People who work in the theatre industry in the United States, however, usually use the spelling "theatre", especially when writing about the art-form while retaining "theater" to write about the location. The spelling is also used often in advertising.



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of theater

Middle French[edit]


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


theatre m (plural theatres)

  1. theatre

Old French[edit]


theatre m (oblique plural theatres, nominative singular theatres, nominative plural theatre)

  1. Alternative form of teatre