AskDefine | Define intermission

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of suspending activity temporarily
2 a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something [syn: pause, break, interruption, suspension]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A break between two performances or sessions, such as at a concert, play, seminar, or religious assembly.


break between performances or sessions

Extensive Definition

An intermission or interval is a break between two parts of performances or sessions, in events such as a theatrical play, opera or musical concert. Sometimes there is also an intermission (break) in the showing of a film, in particular if it is a long film. A play or opera may have several intermissions, depending on its length.
Originally intended with breaks for the actors or speakers in mind, intermissions have become an opportunity for the audience to socialise, purchase and consume refreshments, or use the restrooms. They are also often an opportunity for the audience to buy items related to the show such as CDs, high-quality programmes, art/photography prints and other paraphernalia. As a result, intermissions can have an important financial function for some venues. Some halls allow patrons to return to their seats with purchased refreshments.
Intermissions usually last between 15 to 30 minutes, and there are different methods to signal to the audience to return to their seats. The traditional method at an opera or symphonic concert is to flash the house lights several times, or to have a person with a handheld glockenspiel walk about the crowd, playing a four note chime. In more modern theatres, a brief chime through the PA system is used.
An intermission is also often billed as an entr'acte, derived from the French meaning "between the acts".
The intermission between the second and third quarter of American football games is called halftime. During regular games, the cheerleaders of the different teams usually perform for their side of the stadium. During the Super Bowl, elaborate halftime shows are also performed. Intermissions, in ice hockey, are breaks between the three periods of play.
intermission in German: Intermission (Filmtechnik)
intermission in Spanish: Intermedio
intermission in Simple English: Intermission

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abeyance, act, afterpiece, bit, breach, break, breath, breather, breathing place, breathing space, breathing spell, breathing time, caesura, catharsis, cease-fire, cessation, chaser, cigarette break, cleansing, cocktail hour, coffee break, cold storage, curtain, curtain call, curtain raiser, day off, deliverance, discharge, divertimento, divertissement, doldrums, dormancy, downtime, drop, emotional release, enforced respite, epilogue, exode, exodus, expository scene, finale, fissure, freeing, gap, half time, half-time intermission, halt, happy hour, hesitation, hiatus, hoke act, holiday, interim, interlude, intermezzo, intermittence, interregnum, interruption, interval, introduction, lacuna, lapse, latency, layoff, letup, lull, number, off-time, parenthesis, pause, plateau, point of repose, prologue, purgation, purge, purging, quiescence, quiescency, quiet spell, recess, release, relief, remission, removal, reprieve, respite, rest, resting point, routine, scene, shtick, sketch, skit, song and dance, spell, stand-down, stand-up comedy act, stay, striptease, surcease, suspension, tea break, time off, time out, truce, turn, vacation
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