commedia dell'arte[kə mā′dē ə del är′te]
a type of Italian comedy developed in the 16th through 18th cent. and employing a stereotyped plot, improvised dialogue, and stock characters such as Pantaloon, Harlequin, and Columbine
Origin of commedia dell'arteItalian literally , comedy of art
A type of comedy developed in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries and characterized by improvisation from a standard plot outline and the use of stock characters, often in traditional masks and costumes.
Origin of commedia dell'arteItalian : commedia, comedy + dell'arte, of the guild, professional (from arte, art, craft, guild).
The Actors of the Commedia dell'Arte by Nicolas Lancret (1690–1743)