noun, plural cho·rus·es.
- a group of persons singing in unison.
- (in an opera, oratorio, etc.) such a group singing choral parts in connection with soloists or individual singers.
- a piece of music for singing in unison.
- a part of a song that recurs at intervals, usually following each verse; refrain.
- simultaneous utterance in singing, speaking, shouting, etc.
- the sounds so uttered: a chorus of jeers.
- (in a musical show)
- a company of dancers and singers.
- the singing, dancing, or songs performed by such a company.
- (in ancient Greece)
- a lyric poem, believed to have been in dithyrambic form, that was sung and danced to, originally as a religious rite, by a company of persons.
- an ode or series of odes sung by a group of actors in ancient Greek drama.
- the group of actors that performed the chorus and served as major participants in, commentators on, or as a supplement to the main action of the drama.
- a group of actors or a single actor having a function similar to that of the Greek chorus, as in Elizabethan drama.
- the part of a play performed by such a group or individual.
verb (used with or without object), cho·rused, cho·rus·ing.
- to sing or speak in chorus.
- in chorus, in unison; with all speaking or singing simultaneously: They responded in chorus to the minister’s questions.
noun plural -ruses
- a large choir of singers or a piece of music composed for such a choir
- a body of singers or dancers who perform together, in contrast to principals or soloists
- a section of a song in which a soloist is joined by a group of singers, esp in a recurring refrain
- an intermediate section of a pop song, blues, etc, as distinct from the verse
- jazz any of a series of variations on a theme
- (in ancient Greece)
- a lyric poem sung by a group of dancers, originally as a religious rite
- an ode or series of odes sung by a group of actors
- (in classical Greek drama) the actors who sang the chorus and commented on the action of the play
- actors playing a similar role in any drama
- (esp in Elizabethan drama) the actor who spoke the prologue, etc
- the part of the play spoken by this actor
- a group of people or animals producing words or sounds simultaneously
- any speech, song, or other utterance produced by a group of people or animals simultaneouslya chorus of sighs; the dawn chorus
- in chorus in unison
- to speak, sing, or utter (words, etc) in unison
1560s, from Latin chorus “a dance in a circle, the persons singing and dancing, the chorus of a tragedy,” from Greek khoros “band of dancers or singers, dance, dancing ground,” perhaps from PIE *gher- “to grasp, enclose,” if the original sense of the Greek word is “enclosed dancing floor.” Extension from dance to voice is because Attic drama arose from tales inserted in the intervals of the dance. In Attic tragedy, the khoros (of 15 or 24 persons) gave expression, between the acts, to the moral and religious sentiments evoked by the actions of the play.
When a Poet wished to bring out a piece, he asked a Chorus from the Archon, and the expenses, being great, were defrayed by some rich citizen (the khoregos): it was furnished by the Tribe and trained originally by the Poet himself” [Liddell & Scott]
Originally in English used in theatrical sense; meaning of “a choir” first attested 1650s. Meaning “the refrain of a song” (which the audience joins in singing) is 1590s. As a verb, 1703, from the noun. Chorus girl is 1894.
All together, in unison, as in The voters answered the legislators in chorus. This expression transfers group singing to simultaneous utterance of any kind. [c. 1800]
see in chorus.