Definition of tragedian in English:



  • 1An actor who specializes in tragic roles.

    • ‘Where others looked at spinners, seamers and batsmen, he saw folk heroes, comics and tragedians.’
    • ‘Rather, an actor will develop a specialty within a line, perhaps serving only as a lead tragedian, never doing comedy, or narrowing his eccentric business to specialize in Irish or Jewish roles.’
    • ‘Remember the great Greek tragedians: They wore a mask!’
    • ‘They discuss theatrical affairs before the players arrive, when Hamlet has their chief tragedian recite a speech about the destruction of Troy.’
    • ‘It reminded us that some of the zaniest players can play tragedy better than tragedians.’
    • ‘There were incredible conditions of prejudice, they faced all sorts of restraints, yet they were dancing, singing, acting comedians, tragedians - you name it.’
    • ‘He must be called the imitator, as all tragedians are.’
    • ‘He retired from the stage in 1817 with a final performance as Coriolanus, widely respected as a great tragedian and as Garrick's successor in the promotion and playing of Shakespeare.’
    • ‘I couldn't do that, so I found I had to become a sit-down tragedian who got up a lot.’
    • ‘We might think of him as misplaced, a tragedian performing in cabaret perhaps.’
    • ‘Comedian, tragedian and heartthrob, his distinction lies in the very indistinction of his career.’
    1. 1.1A writer of tragedies.
      • ‘In the years thereafter, Aeschylus found his muse and became one of the three celebrated 5th-century-BC Athenian tragedians, alongside Sophocles and Euripides.’
      • ‘The archon allotted to each tragedian his actors, paid at state expense, and a producer (choregus).’
      • ‘In the Aristophanes original, Aeschylus and Euripides debated over which of the two was the best tragedian.’
      • ‘As the Greek tragedians and Shakespeare well knew, even a bloody tyrant can be made the object of sympathy by a cruel turn of fate.’
      • ‘The Greek tragedian Euripides, for example, rarely took first prize in Athenian dramatic competitions.’
      • ‘Euripides is considered to be the most socially critical of all the ancient Greek tragedians.’
      • ‘Born around 524 or 525 B.C. in the city of Eleusis near Athens, the Greek dramatist Aeschylus is known as the first great tragedian.’
      • ‘How could Milton the classicist, the tragedian, the epic writer, reject Plato, the Greek tragedians, and Homer himself?’
      • ‘Not even the greatest of ancient tragedians could have written the script, most commentators agreed.’
      • ‘As Aeschylus and other tragedians appreciated, words could be used to make what is false appear true and what was true false.’
      • ‘And ever since then, scholars have remarked on the difference between the two tragedians as involving something like the ideal and the real.’
      • ‘Those of you who are familiar with the Classical Greek tragedy, also probably know Plato's attack on the Classical Greek tragedians.’


Late Middle English (denoting a writer of tragedies): from Old French tragediane, from tragedie (see tragedy).