fourth wall

(redirected from Break the fourth wall)
Also found in: Idioms.

fourth wall

n.
1. The imaginary barrier that is considered to separate the audience from the characters in a play or other live performance: an actor who broke the fourth wall by directly addressing an audience member.
2. A similar imaginary barrier that is considered to separate a viewer from a film or other recorded performance: traditional films that maintain the illusion of the fourth wall.
3. A similar imaginary barrier regarding as separating a text from its readers.

[From its use in the theater, where it is likened to a wall that would complete the enclosure of a proscenium stage.]

fourth wall

n
1. (Broadcasting) an imaginary barrier between a television programme, film, or play and its audience
2. (Film) an imaginary barrier between a television programme, film, or play and its audience
3. (Theatre) an imaginary barrier between a television programme, film, or play and its audience
4. (Broadcasting) break the fourth wall (esp of a character in a television programme, film, or play) to refer to, acknowledge, or address the audience, usually for comedic effect or as an avante-garde technique
5. (Film) break the fourth wall (esp of a character in a television programme, film, or play) to refer to, acknowledge, or address the audience, usually for comedic effect or as an avante-garde technique
6. (Theatre) break the fourth wall (esp of a character in a television programme, film, or play) to refer to, acknowledge, or address the audience, usually for comedic effect or as an avante-garde technique
[C19: referring to the three visible walls of a stage, television, or (sometimes) film set]
Translations
vierde wand
References in periodicals archive ?
The game is laced with quips that break the fourth wall, calling out tired conventions of video games, such as repetitive fetch quests and disembodied narrators.
Hannan describes Crime and Punishment as "a very inner book" but strikes the obvious solution of having Best break the fourth wall to articulate Raskolnikov's thoughts directly to the audience.
Mock newsreel footage and knowing nods to the camera all serve to break the fourth wall and make the viewer readily aware of the stylised fiction we are witnessing.