Peanut gallery

Peanut gallery

A peanut gallery is an audience that heckles the performer. The term originated in the days of vaudeville as a nickname for the cheapest (and ostensibly rowdiest) seats in the theater; the least expensive snack served at the theater would often be peanuts, which the patrons would sometimes throw at the performers on stage to show their disapproval. The phrases "no comments from the peanut gallery" or "quiet in the peanut gallery" are extensions of the name.

In the late 1940s the Howdy Doody show adopted the name to represent its audience of 40 children.

In recent times, the term has taken on new meanings with the advent of social networks and online chat rooms. "Peanut gallery" may also refer to a social network audience that passively observes a syndicated web feed or chat room.


Related terms

In Europe

  • In Europe, the claque at many opera houses and theatres were an organized group who would cheer performances hysterically or boo and cat-call, depending on the outcome of financial negotiations between their leader and the lead performers' agents.
  • Similar seats in British theatres are often called "the gods" because of the seats' higher elevation (e.g., "We've got seats in the gods for the play tonight").
  • Similar seats in Spanish and French theatres were called "el paraíso" and "le paradis" respectively (from which came the title of the movie "Les Enfants du Paradis") because of the seats' higher elevation. Another common name was "el gallinero" and "le poulailler" respectively (the henhouse) because the population of the section was very noisy.

In North America

  • During the Jim Crow era and in segregated parts of the United States, "nigger heaven" was often used to refer to the balcony of a movie theater where black people would be forced to sit.[1]
  • In the US and Canada, especially at sporting events and concerts, the more elevated seats are often referred to as "the nosebleeds", alluding to the altitude. In politics, it represents people in the visitor galleries heckling politicians and their guests on the legislative floor.
  • The orange-colored seats in the upper decks of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh were often referred to by local patrons as "Peanut Heaven".

In South America

  • Similar to "peanut gallery", Brazilian football coach Luis Felipe Scolari called Palmeiras' complaining audience that sat in the closest seats "Turma do Amendoim" ("Peanut gang"). The supporters accepted the nickname, and use it to date.[2][3]


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • peanut gallery — An audience that interrupts, boos or heckles a performer, speaker, etc, is a peanut gallery …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Peanut gallery — Pea nut gal ler*y 1. the cheapest seats in a theater, being typically those farthest from the stage, as in the uppermost balcony. [PJC] 2. in a television show for children, the section where visiting children sit as guests during the performance …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • peanut gallery — peanut ,gallery noun singular AMERICAN INFORMAL the least expensive seats at the back of a theater, or the people who sit in them. This word sometimes shows that you think these people are not important …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • peanut gallery — ☆ peanut gallery n. Slang the topmost balcony section in a theater, where the cheaper seats are located …   English World dictionary

  • peanut gallery — noun a) The upper balcony in a racially segregated venues such as a theatre to which black patrons were restricted.<ref name= LtA >Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past by Stuart …   Wiktionary

  • peanut gallery — 1. Informal. the rearmost and cheapest section of seats in the balcony or the uppermost balcony of a theater. 2. Slang. a source of insignificant criticism: No remarks from the peanut gallery! [1885 90, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • peanut gallery — pea′nut gal lery n. sl. 1) inf the rearmost and cheapest section of seats in the balcony of a theater 2) sts a source of insignificant criticism: No remarks from the peanut gallery![/ex] • Etymology: 1885–90, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • peanut gallery — noun 1. (figurative) people whose criticisms are regarded as irrelevant or insignificant (resembling uneducated people who throw peanuts on the stage to express displeasure with a performance) he ignored complaints from the peanut gallery •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • peanut gallery — Synonyms and related words: Texas tower, auditorium, balcony, beacon, belvedere, bleachers, box, box seat, bridge, conning tower, dress circle, fauteuil, gallery, gazebo, grandstand, lighthouse, loge, lookout, loophole, nigger heaven, observation …   Moby Thesaurus

  • peanut gallery — noun N. Amer. informal the top gallery in a theatre, where the cheaper seats are located …   English new terms dictionary