- an oval or round building with tiers of seats around a central open area, as those used in ancient Rome for gladiatorial contests.
- any similar place for public contests, games, performances, exhibitions, etc.; an arena, stadium, or auditorium.
- a room having tiers of seats arranged around a central area, in which students and other observers can view surgery, hear lectures, etc.
- the first section of seats in the gallery of a theater.
- a designated section of seats in any part of a theater.
- a level area of oval or circular shape surrounded by rising ground.
late 14c., from Latin amphitheatrum, from Greek amphitheatron “double theater, amphitheater,” neuter of amphitheatros “with spectators all around,” from amphi- “on both sides” (see amphi-) + theatron “theater” (see theater). Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphi-theater.