General English


  • A long enclosure that functions as a corridor inside or outside a building or between different buildings.
  • The elevated (usually the highest) designated seating section in an auditorium, theater, church, etc.


  • noun the seats above and around the benches in the House of Commons and House of Lords, where the public and journalists sit

Media Studies

Real Estate

  • noun a balcony or passage running along the wall of a large building
  • noun a corridor, hall or other enclosed passageway inside a building
  • noun a long narrow space or room used for a particular purpose
  • noun a long covered passageway that is open on one or both sides
  • noun a decorative metal or wooden rail on a table top, shelf or tray


  • The highest rows of seats in a theater, above the balconyand the circle. This is the cheapest area of the auditoriumas the seating tends to be uncomfortable and the view of the stagepoor. The reaction of the audience seated there was traditionallyconsidered to be a measure of popular taste. In Elizabethan playhouses,however, gallery seats were more prestigious and expensive than placesin the pit.

    In the 18th century the occupants of the gallery were nicknamedthe gods, because of the elevated position of the seats andbecause blue sky, representing heaven, was painted on the ceilingsof many theaters; similarly, the gallery in French theaters was known asparadis.

    To play to the gallery is to appeal deliberately to the lessdiscriminating part of one's audience, like an actor seeking popularity fromthose in the cheapest seats in the theater (the gallery) by an exaggerateddisplay.

    see also footman's gallery; peanut gallery; women's gallery.


  • noun a building which is open to the public and offers pieces of art to look at or for sale

Origin & History of “gallery”

The original meaning of gallery in English was ‘long roofed walk way along the wall of a building’; the present sense ‘room or building for the exhibition of paintings, sculpture, etc’ did not develop until the end of the 16th century. English borrowed the word from Old French galerie ‘portico’, which came via Italian galleria from medieval Latin galeria. this may have been an alteration of galilea (source of English galilee (16th c.), as in galilee chapel), thought to have been applied to a porch or chapel at the far or western end of a church in allusion to the position of Galilee as the province of Palestine most distant from Jerusalem.