Commedia-dell-arte definition

kə-mādē-ə dĕl-ärtē, -tĕ, -mĕdē-ə
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.
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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.
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Origin of commedia-dell-arte

  • Italian commedia comedy dell'arte of the guild, professional (from arte art, craft, guild)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition