Student Dictionary

One entry found for vaudeville.
Main Entry: vaude·ville
Pronunciation: primarystressvodotd(-schwa)-vschwal, primarystressväd-, primarystressvomacrd-, -secondarystressvil
Function: noun
Etymology: from French vaudeville "a humorous song or skit," derived from early French vaudevire "a song that makes fun of something," from chansons de vau de Vire "songs of the valley of Vire"
: theatrical entertainment made up of a variety of songs, dances, and comic acts
Word History In the 15th century, a number of humorous songs became popular in France. The songs were said to have been written by a man who lived in the valley of the River Vire, which is located in northwest France. The songs became known as chansons de vau de Vire, meaning "songs of the valley of Vire." Other people were soon writing and performing similar songs. Before long, people no longer connected such songs with the valley of Vire. The name chansons de vau de Vire was shortened to one word, vaudevire. Further changes in spelling and pronunciation have given us the modern word vaudeville, which refers not only to humorous songs, but also to other forms of popular entertainment.

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