Definition of Chautauqua in US English:


  • 1A resort town in southwestern New York, on Chautauqua Lake, noted as the birthplace of a 19th-century popular education movement; population 4,510 (est. 2008).

    • ‘Nicholson took regular study retreats to Chautauqua, N.Y., with fellow ministers and friends - including E. Kuhkmann, who completed the large painting.’
    • ‘In the ensuing years, hundreds came to Chautauqua each year to hear prominent speakers like Thomas Edison and Booker T. Washington.’
    • ‘The county seat is located at Mayville, in the town of Chautauqua, at the head of Chautauqua Lake.’
    • ‘It sits within the town of Chautauqua and at any given moment in the summer, the population of the compound is about 7000.’
    1. 1.1as noun An institution offering popular adult education courses and entertainment, typically held outdoors in the summer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
      ‘some sophisticate who had attended Chautauquas in other parts of the country’
      • ‘Through correspondence courses, university extension, journals like The Chautauquan, and especially reading circles, Chautauqua's influence spread widely.’
      • ‘The idea was born in the brain of Texas firebrand Jim Hightower and draws its inspiration from the old style Chautauqua - part country fair, part revival festival and pure grass roots democracy.’
      • ‘It was a humorous chautauqua, and I did everything in Greek, including answering questions, but I also mimed the answers.’


Late 19th century: named after Chautauqua, a county in New York State, where such an institution was first set up.