Definition of vaudeville in English:

vaudeville

noun

mass noun
  • 1A type of entertainment popular chiefly in the US in the early 20th century, featuring a mixture of speciality acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance.

    ‘his comedic roots are in vaudeville’
    as modifier ‘a stage show with vaudeville acts and dancing girls’
    • ‘Father stayed on the vaudeville circuit for a few years after he and mother got married.’
    • ‘Early film included actors from theater and vaudeville, entertainers from the circus, boxers, dancers, and non-actors caught in actualities or put on screen for staged events.’
    • ‘Once a vaudeville dancer on Broadway, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell is now 80.’
    • ‘Hope instinctively knew that he needed to build a marketable image for himself if he was going to stand out from all the other vaudeville and radio comics trying to break into movies in the 1930s.’
    • ‘Like a vaudeville performer, Victorian novelist, or stand-up comic, Hirst will do anything to hold your attention.’
    • ‘The dynamic reminds me of the old George Burns and Gracie Allen vaudeville routine about the property implications of marriage.’
    • ‘He was effectively born in a trunk; his parents worked in a vaudeville company run by his grandmother, and as a child he joined them on stage in their comedy act.’
    • ‘The 16-year-old Shakespeare in the Park company moved into new digs this year in a former vaudeville house, the Rex, which had fallen into disrepair.’
    • ‘Cutter is no suave sophisticate, but Grant's background in vaudeville honed his comic sensibilities and paved his way to wonderful performances in classic screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby.’
    • ‘Adding drama to the downtown scene are the melodramas and vaudeville revues presented at the Gaslighter Theater.’
    • ‘Drinking songs, in vaudeville performances, were often performed by cross-dressed women.’
    • ‘As early as 1913, Billboard, a music industry journal, had begun printing weekly sheet music bestseller charts and surveys of the most popular songs in vaudeville.’
    • ‘Christmas would bring back the memory of losing his father, a minor vaudeville star and alcoholic, who died when Charlie was a child.’
    • ‘In Edinburgh, we are promised the best of contemporary burlesque and vaudeville performers.’
    • ‘Their march will take them to the old Town Hall, which has been replaced by ‘The Palace,’ a saloon that features vaudeville acts and dancing girls.’
    • ‘About the same time, Bob Hope, like every other comic in vaudeville, learned a useful lesson: When a sketch starts to tank, it's safer to make the audience part of the act than to pretend it isn't there.’
    • ‘Singalongs, comedy acts, and ‘variety’ performances were staged in pubs regularly before music halls and vaudeville theatres became firmly established from the mid-nineteenth century.’
    • ‘Part of the appeal was the venue, the Théatre National, an old vaudeville house on Ste-Catherine E. recently restored to a semblance of its former glory.’
    • ‘In 1924, Seldes came out with a book called The 7 Lively Arts, a celebration of comic strips, vaudeville, slapstick, musical comedy, and other non-elitist culture.’
    • ‘As for her most memorable lines, they are demonstrable reworkings of old vaudeville and burlesque gags that had been kicking around since the dawn of creation.’
    • ‘The Classic has been many things in its lifetime: an acting space, a cinema, a porn palace, a vaudeville establishment, and - until recently - a disused warehouse.’
    light entertainment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A light or comic stage play with interspersed songs.
      • ‘Cellier wrote numerous comic operas, vaudevilles, one grand opera, The Masque of Pandora, and a few instrumental works.’
      • ‘It made its presence felt in turn-of-the-century vaudevilles and was crucial to many Hollywood comedies in the years surrounding World War II, particularly the films of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.’
      • ‘A character based on the prototypical French soldat-laboreur figured in La cocarde tricolore, a vaudeville performed in Paris in 1832 and set during the taking of Algiers two years earlier.’
      • ‘In English Canada, Shakespeare served as protection against the incursions of American commercialism; in French Canada, against imported French vaudevilles.’
    2. 1.2archaic count noun A satirical or topical song with a refrain.

Origin

Mid 18th century: from French, earlier vau de ville (or vire), said to be a name given originally to songs composed by Olivier Basselin, a 15th-century fuller born in Vau de Vire in Normandy.

Pronunciation

vaudeville

/ˈvɔːdəvɪl/