Definition of chautauqua in US English:



North American
  • An institution that provided popular adult education courses and entertainment 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.’
    • ‘It was a humorous chautauqua, and I did everything in Greek, including answering questions, but I also mimed the answers.’
    • ‘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.’


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