Definition of commedia dell'arte in US English:

commedia dell'arte


  • An improvised kind of popular comedy in Italian theaters in the 16th–18th centuries, based on stock characters. Actors adapted their comic dialogue and action according to a few basic plots (commonly love intrigues) and to topical issues.

    • ‘The story involves three characters from commedia dell'arte - Pierrot, Columbine, and Brighella - and uses them to illustrate the vulnerability of innocence.’
    • ‘Pierrot, with his white face, black skull-cap and ruff, has always been a central figure of the commedia dell'arte.’
    • ‘The heroes of this strange and gripping twenty-first-century love story resemble personages from the Italian commedia dell'arte.’
    • ‘Using masks and dialects, they performed improvisational comic theatre, now known as commedia dell'arte.’
    • ‘Another target of the Petite Commande are the popular entertainments of the day, the theater of the commedia dell'arte and the musicians, dancers, and comedians who played in carnivals and fairs.’
    • ‘A character who looks like he might have stepped out of the commedia dell'arte, wearing a jacket with multihued tufts, wields a primitive hand puppet.’
    • ‘These were worn by players in the Italian theater known as commedia dell'arte, which was popular in the 16th century.’
    • ‘His figures have a theatrical air, especially the ones with the look of Pierrot and Colombine and other characters from the commedia dell'arte.’
    • ‘Goldoni was an innovative playwright who was attempting to transform the old Italian commedia dell'arte form into a more modern comedy of manners.’
    • ‘Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, he follows the tradition of improvisational comedy, which was heavily influenced by the characterization, themes and storylines of Italy's commedia dell'arte.’
    • ‘The strength of commedia dell'arte is that it opens actors to creative additions and dislocations, continually encouraging actors to improvise, all of which means the audience is turned on in a remarkable way.’
    • ‘The ballet's commonalities with commedia dell'arte made it familiar territory for the Italian interpreters.’


Italian, ‘comedy of art’.


commedia dell'arte

/kəˌmādēə ˌdelˈärdā//kəˌmeɪdiə ˌdɛlˈɑrdeɪ/