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  • I. Audience (abstractly). No pl.
1. The action of hearing; attention to what is spoken. to give audience: to give ear, listen.
2. a. The state or condition of hearing, or of being able to hear; hearing. in (open, general) audience (obs.): so that all may hear, publicly.
b. with objective genitive. Obs. rare.
3. Judicial (Law) hearing. Court of Audience or Audience Court: an ecclesiastical court, at first held by the archbishop, afterwards by learned men, called Auditors, on his behalf. The Audience Court of Canterbury is now merged in the Court of Arches. arch. or Obs.
4. Formal hearing, reception at a formal interview: see 6.
  • II. An audience. With pl.
5. gen. An occasion of hearing. Obs.
6. A formal interview granted by a superior to an inferior (especially by a sovereign or chief governor) for conference or the transaction of business. Const. of, with. audience of leave: interview for the purpose of taking leave, farewell interview.
7. a. The persons within hearing; an assembly of listeners, an auditory.
b. transf. The readers of a book.
c. transf. Listeners to radio programmes or viewers of television.
d. attrib. and Comb., as audience participation, sharing by an audience in a broadcast programme, etc.; audience-rating, assessment of the audience of a radio or television programme; audience research (cf. listener research), see quot. 1951; hence audience-researcher.
  • 8. A place of hearing, an audience-chamber. Obs.
  • 9. A court, either of government or justice, in Spanish America; also, the territory administered by it. (Sp. audiencia.)