Definition of ensemble in English:



  • 1A group of musicians, actors, or dancers who perform together.

    ‘a Bulgarian folk ensemble’
    • ‘One of his strengths as a director here is that he has brought together an ensemble of great actors and his camera is not shy about letting their faces tell the story.’
    • ‘More than 25 bands and ensembles will perform more than 40 concerts on Saturday for the Pershore Midsummer Brass event.’
    • ‘The correlation works magnificently, as does the large ensemble of young actors, musicians and technicians from all over Western Canada.’
    • ‘In the 1960s, he and Peter Hall did so much to develop the concept of a permanent ensemble where the actors received proper training.’
    • ‘Some of the traditional ensembles performing at the Festival in the Desert were made up entirely of women.’
    • ‘The sublime sounds of this local jazz ensemble will make you stop and listen closely.’
    • ‘The ensemble consists of three pianos, three harps, and three percussion players.’
    • ‘Parents were able to stroll around the Music Service's headquarters and to watch the youngsters perform in their individual ensembles and orchestras.’
    • ‘The result is some of the finest ensemble acting ever found in a weekly television show.’
    • ‘As well as performances by the only ensemble company of actors in Scotland, there is children's entertainment and music festivals.’
    • ‘Here, two ensembles of nine dancers mesh into tight circles as individuals hoist themselves aloft, top the mass and dismount, rejoining the group.’
    • ‘I mean, it's an ensemble of fine actors, you know.’
    • ‘He especially liked the idea of joining an ensemble of actors who each discover new sides to themselves both comic and serious through their willingness to let it all go while they dance.’
    • ‘She's the final element in an ensemble of truly wonderful actors delivering hilarious and memorable performances.’
    • ‘Children as young as 10 years old perform alongside the ensemble's core of semi-professional adult musicians.’
    • ‘Some of the major events in the festival are given by the ensembles which bring together top musicians from different countries.’
    • ‘The ensemble cast is huge, and there are a few surprising cameos throughout.’
    • ‘Backed by an ensemble of drummers, dancers and a guitarist, Thornhill explores the awakening spirit of a young black woman through song and spoken word.’
    • ‘The entire ensemble played with precision and sensitivity.’
    • ‘By sixteen he was performing and writing for large jazz ensembles as well as doing studio work in Los Angeles.’
    group, band, orchestra, combo
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A piece of music or passage written for performance by a whole cast, choir, or group of instruments.
      ‘Cherubini's numbers, with solos and ensembles intermingled, have a freedom and originality’
      • ‘The ensembles are performed with delicacy or gusto as required.’
      • ‘Now he is a participant in one of the most exciting contemporary world-music ensembles.’
      • ‘Each of the players was a skilful soloist, and they each gracefully merged their individual talents to create tight flowing ensembles.’
      • ‘The work is full of exciting ensembles, arias and orchestral passages with all performers especially the great Aquiles Machado churning out a performance that is well nigh unsurpassable.’
      • ‘This piece d' occasion is said to have been intended for a wedding that never took place and features four soloists and choir in a series of delightful solos, ensembles and choruses.’
      • ‘This is a piece for eight dancers, brought together in processions and ensembles, but framed around duets in which classical shapes are sculpted and explored - the beauty of arabesques or slowly revolving turns in attitude.’
      • ‘With their fusion of aria, ensemble, and recitative his operas paved the way for Gluck's reforms of the 1760s.’
      • ‘The programme for the evening will include arias, duets and ensembles from operas by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and Gounod’
    2. 1.2[mass noun]The coordination between performers executing an ensemble passage.
      ‘a high level of tuning and ensemble is guaranteed’
      • ‘Certainly, his detail-oriented approach to conducting helped hone the orchestra's ensemble and refine its sound.’
      • ‘The soloist and orchestra achieve wonderful clarity and fine ensemble.’
      • ‘The ensemble was also superbly coordinated in the Minuet and Trio and bristling finale, with its driving sequences and rich chains of suspensions.’
      • ‘Jenkins ability to wield these performers into ensemble and groupings at moments touched the sublime.’
  • 2A group of items viewed as a whole rather than individually.

    ‘the buildings in the square present a charming provincial ensemble’
    • ‘The painting was thus almost certainly intended as an independent work, rather than as part of a larger ensemble.’
    • ‘When the curtains rose, a full ensemble would be in view with this building at the centre sitting majestically.’
    • ‘The site and its structures were eventually acquired by the city council with a view to renovating the ensemble to house a municipal library and archive.’
    • ‘Now, the meaning of goods - once found in individual objects - emerged instead from a total ensemble, the overall system of goods.’
    • ‘Drawings that functioned as studies for individual characters in the ensembles help flesh out sub-themes of the larger, busier compositions.’
    • ‘London Cries, depicting the lower orders of the capital, survive in three formats: as broadsheet panels of engravings, as ensembles of individual prints, and as illustrated books.’
    • ‘Not to be missed are the ensemble of classic and contemporary masterpieces put up by stores.’
    • ‘He confirms, backhandedly, that it's simplest to treat ensembles as we do individual artists.’
    whole, whole thing, entity, unit, unity, body, piece, object, discrete item
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[usually in singular]A set of clothes chosen to harmonize when worn together.
      ‘her elegant pink and black ensemble put most outfits in the shade’
      • ‘The graduates were well attired for the occasion, with coloured convocation robes, inner suit and the flat cap completing the ensemble.’
      • ‘Her black leather pants and boots completed the ensemble.’
      • ‘Any rings or chains should be gold (in colour at least) as it just completes the whole ensemble.’
      • ‘I chose the powder grey shirt, light shade of grey tie, pin stripe jacket and pants and to pull the ensemble together some black boots.’
      • ‘The ensemble had a white dress shirt underneath a black blazer.’
      • ‘A white shirt and black vest finished the ensemble.’
      • ‘Her ensemble was completed by black stockings and heels.’
      • ‘He was wearing a relaxed ensemble of black pants and shoes, and a crisp white dress shirt.’
      • ‘After the addition of a pair of hoop earrings, a black leather jacket, and a black purse, the ensemble was complete.’
      • ‘He wore a thin black vest over a gray shirt, with black fingerless gloves to match the ensemble.’
      • ‘Viridian stands there in a red cloak and black gown, the same ensemble she wore the first time he laid his eyes on her.’
      • ‘Her shirtwaist style top was a mint green, the soft pastel bringing out her eyes as she slipped on a simple brown skirt, finishing the ensemble with a fine leather belt.’
      • ‘All that's needed is a blue dress for a harmonious ensemble.’
      • ‘The resulting ensembles will also be the inspiration for contemporary costume creations and performance pieces.’
      • ‘I also hoped that to complete the ensemble a midriff top would be added.’
      • ‘Jack went through his drawers of designer clothes, putting together a tasteful ensemble.’
      • ‘He wore a black ensemble that consisted of a traditional three-button suit, neatly pressed, hemmed slacks, dress shirt and silk tie.’
      • ‘Samara was wearing an ensemble of a black velvet tube & chiffon dress with a huge light pink ribbon around her waist.’
      • ‘The boots began the ensemble, black leather with silver studs outlining them in a tasteful fashion.’
      • ‘Jesse was wearing the whole suit ensemble, minus the tie and the jacket.’
      outfit, costume, suit, coordinates, matching separates, set of clothes
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Physics A group of similar systems, or different states of the same system, often considered statistically.
      ‘we would have to adopt a picture in which there is an ensemble of all possible universes with some probability distribution’
      • ‘When dissolved in water, most proteins fold into either a single conformation or a small ensemble of similar conformations.’
      • ‘However, it is probably a wise idea to simulate the same system at different surface areas and using different ensembles.’
      • ‘The interior treatments of the two ensembles reflect the difference in their functions.’
      • ‘In both proteins these results suggest the unfolded ensemble of conformations retain a substantial number of rigid substructures.’
      • ‘Whether by looking at the organisms, or by looking at their DNA, the interest of the microbiologists was in an ensemble, not the individual.’


Late Middle English (as an adverb (long rare) meaning ‘at the same time’): from French, based on Latin insimul, from in- in + simul at the same time. The noun dates from the mid 18th century.