captive audience

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captive audience

1. An audience (of a speech, performance, lecture, etc.) that is prevented from leaving and is therefore obligated to listen. Our boss made attendance at the panel discussion mandatory, thus ensuring a captive audience.
2. An audience that is enraptured by and gives the entirety of its attention to a speaker or performance. The key to maintaining a captive audience is to make sure your speech appeals to everyone present.

captive audience

Listeners or onlookers who have no choice but to attend. For example, It's a required course and, knowing he has a captive audience, the professor rambles on endlessly . This expression, first recorded in 1902, uses captive in the sense of "unable to escape."
References in classic literature ?
That portion of the band who had followed the huge warrior took the route toward the foot of the Horican, and no other expectation was left for himself and companions, than that they were to be retained as hopeless captives by their savage conquerors.
They made way with foot and hand, kicking and thrusting dragging and shoving, the bound captives to either side of the space which the canoe was to occupy.
But the twelve-year-old lad who stole in and cautiously stepped over the sleepers and threaded his way among the captives, did so with his heart in his mouth.
But the creatures led their captives away from the rocks and the road, down the hill by a side path until they came before a low mountain of rock that looked like a huge bowl turned upside down.
They led the captives into a house at the farthest side of the cave--a house somewhat wider than the others.
The Scoodlers led the captives away and shut them up in one of the houses, leaving only a single Scoodler to keep guard.
The captives sat in a sorrowful group at the other end of the room--except Polychrome, who danced back and forth in the little place to keep herself warm, for she felt the chill of the cave.
The Indians had, however, no sooner deprived the captives of their arms and ammunition, and stripped them of a few articles of dress of little use, and perhaps of less value, than they appeared disposed to grant them a respite.
Most of their dark forms were soon blended with the brown covering of the prairie; though the captives, who watched the slightest movement of their enemies with vigilant eyes, were now and then enabled to discern a human figure, drawn against the horizon, as some one, more eager than the rest, rose to his greatest height in order to extend the limits of his view.
He had hardly disappeared before a warrior of powerful frame advanced out of the dark circle, and placed himself before the captives, with that high and proud bearing for which a distinguished Indian chief is ever so remarkable.
A halt, however, was soon made; and when the captives had time to look about them, they found they were in view of the low, dark outline of the copse, near which lay the slumbering party of Ishmael.
After admonishing in this expressive manner his male captives of the fate that would instantly attend their female companion, on the slightest alarm proceeding from any of the party, he was content to maintain a rigid silence.
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