commedia dell'arte[kə mā′dē ə del är′te]
commedia dell'arte definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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: Italian literally , comedy of art
commedia dell'arte definition by American Heritage Dictionary
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: Italian : commedia, comedy + dell'arte, of the guild, professional (from arte, art, craft, guild).