Definition of thespian in US English:



formal, humorous
  • Relating to drama and the theater.

    ‘thespian talents’
    • ‘For these uniquely thespian presentations they sometimes receive great sums of money.’
    • ‘Actually, they said that it was my thespian talents that made them choose me, and they said that my voice was adequate, but they'd prefer it if I kept improving it.’
    • ‘It's also a virtuoso display of theatrical pyrotechnics, though acting, in the thespian sense, doesn't get much of a look in.’
    • ‘Ironically, the past few months could bring a fresh appreciation and attention to Kelly's thespian abilities.’
    • ‘Even so, she suffers simultaneously from that perennial thespian complaint of neuroticism fuelled by depressing self-doubt.’
    • ‘Growing up on the tough Lawrence Weston Estate in Bristol, thespian tendencies were not encouraged.’
    • ‘Maya Maron, who plays the daughter who keeps the family from coming apart at the seams, has been singled out as a major new thespian talent in Israel, due to the strength of her performance here.’
    • ‘I don't envy anyone that thespian task, but she gets the job done superbly.’
    • ‘CEOs also tend to be rather hard-headed and pragmatic, while creative thespian types are probably a bit more sensitive.’
    • ‘John Gielgud, along with his two contemporaries and friends, Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, dominated the thespian scene for much of the 20th century.’
    • ‘So if you aren't too totally absorbed in thespian pleasures, listening up could deliver you some extremely interesting and quite timely information.’
    • ‘I wanted to argue, or display my thespian skill by claiming a dying relative or dire emergency.’
    • ‘This wasn't the result of some sudden outbreak of thespian talent, but rather part of a science/art crossover project called Genes Talking.’
    • ‘This year, she has appeared in a trio of movies and has failed to show any noteworthy thespian skills.’
    • ‘They share a flat in Glasgow, while resting from thespian duties that somehow don't materialise.’
    • ‘Imperial prosperity produced audiences keen to sample thespian delights and able to afford to.’
    • ‘Massey, who was raised in the old school of thespian behavior, thought that Dean's mood swings and prima donna behavior were unprofessional.’
    • ‘So, is her daughter showing any early signs of following in her parents' thespian footsteps?’
    • ‘Then comes another barrier: that old thespian adage about never working with children or animals.’
    • ‘His concentration on style, however, leaves us with an emotionally tinny thespian drama.’
    • ‘No one in her family had ever displayed thespian leanings before.’
    stage, dramatic, dramaturgical
    View synonyms


formal, humorous
  • An actor or actress.

    • ‘Unlike many thespians Leslie has no formal acting training.’
    • ‘Both thespians acquit themselves admirably, but it's how they function within the confines of the story that makes this an intense, fulfilling offering.’
    • ‘Most of Scotland's adult thespians have already auditioned for the show, shortlists have been drawn up, and the starring roles are due to be announced in the next few weeks.’
    • ‘It's rousing good fun starring 30 young thespians.’
    • ‘‘Break a leg’ has been many an actor's goodwill wish to fellow thespians before the curtain rises.’
    • ‘In the current offering we have Brenda Blethyn as Mrs Warren, heading a cast of truly hard-working thespians.’
    • ‘‘We have art and music shows that would appeal to thespians, artists, children and families alike,’ said Joe Masterson of Hawk's Well Theatre.’
    • ‘And you haven't lived until you've heard British thespian Jim Broadbent croon ‘Like a Virgin.’’
    • ‘Aspiring young thespians from Listowel and its hinterland will be treading the boards of St John's Theatre and Arts Centre this Christmas holiday season.’
    • ‘Budding young thespians auditioned in front of actor Neil Morrissey for the chance of a trip of a lifetime to Italy.’
    • ‘The budding thespians are currently working on The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, which they will perform on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, if these once mighty thespians can't give the performances of their lives, their future in show business is unimportant.’
    • ‘Four young thespians are celebrating making giant strides in the world of acting after scooping top awards for drama.’
    • ‘Aspiring thespians can enrol for a series of acting workshops commencing on January 24, at the school of music and performing arts.’
    • ‘The scene takes place in the barn, where Ned (played by David Marr) reveals to his fellow thespians that he is dying of the ‘pox.’’
    • ‘Daryl Hannah plays an earthbound angel, while Anthony Edwards is her erudite cohort and British thespian Robin Sachs is the master angel.’
    • ‘Experienced British thespians Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton have supporting roles as the matriarch and patriarch of the Hewitt clan.’
    • ‘Okay, so it's faint praise, but Driver has made the transition from actress to singer far more successfully than most thespians who have tried it.’
    • ‘If you are in the Salt Lake City area, check with these thespians to see where they will be performing next.’
    • ‘The four leads are not actors that instantly strike me as the master thespians of our age, and yet here they bring unique strengths and gifts to their characters.’
    entertainer, performer, trouper, showman, artist
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Late 17th century: from the name Thespis + -ian.