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break the fourth wall

Of fiction, especially theater, film, or television, to break the illusion of separation between the audience and the fiction itself, either intentionally or unintentionally. Taken originally from theater, in which the fourth wall describes the invisible "wall" that stands between the audience and the stage. We were enjoying the play, but one of the actors kept breaking the fourth wall by glaring at the audience any time someone made any noise. I love shows that break the fourth wall—it makes me feel like I'm in on the joke.
See also: break, fourth, wall

the Fourth Estate

The people and organizations that report the news, or news journalism as a whole, regarded as having palpable but unofficial political influence. One must never forget the sway held by members of the Fourth Estate—if we want public support, then we need the press on our side.
See also: estate, fourth

fourth wall joke

In fiction, especially theater, film, or television, a joke that intentionally draws attention to the illusion of separation between the audience and the fiction itself. I love it when a TV show throws in a good fourth wall joke—I think it's fun being in on the humor like that.
See also: fourth, joke, wall

fourth wall

The imaginary barrier separating performers in a TV show, film, or play from the audience. I hate those shows that break the fourth wall—I don't want to feel like the characters are having a conversation with me! Stay in character and don't break the fourth wall!
See also: fourth, wall

the fourth estate

the press; the profession of journalism.
The three traditional Estates of the Realm (the Crown, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons) are now viewed as having been joined by the press, which is regarded as having equal power. As early as 1843 Lord Macaulay stated: ‘The gallery in which the reporters sit has become a fourth estate of the realm’.
See also: estate, fourth
References in periodicals archive ?
Dodger Stadium presents its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show following the game between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
When Hoffa subsequently was prosecuted for bribing members of the prior trial jury, he sought to suppress Partin' s testimony as a violation of, among other constitutional provisions, his Fourth Amendment rights.
7% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 plus the first week of fiscal 2006 on a 14 week to 14 week comparison.
Although the Court declined to decide whether the officer's observation constituted a "search" - an issue the Court did not have to decide because the householder was not a party to the appeal - the Court held that "any search which may have occurred did not violate their [the defendants'] Fourth Amendment rights" (emphasis added).
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the fourth quarter sales were equivalent to an annual rate of 5,150 units, which was about par for the whole year, although it fell considerably short of the exceptionally high adjusted rate of 7,610 units of the prior quarter.
Each of Orthofix's core market sectors, which will be broken out as spine, orthopedics and sports medicine starting with the fourth quarter's financial results, reported increased quarterly revenue compared with the prior year.
Ninth- through 12th-grade category: Paul Grosart, Saugus High, first; Shannon Murakami, Saugus, second; Victoria Kemp, Saugus, third; and Nicole Hatcher, Saugus, fourth.
In the fourth quarter of 2006, majority net income increased 55% to US$377 million from US$244 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.
It makes for great theater, and has created a buzz around Westwood not felt since 2001, when the Bruins were ranked as high as fourth.
Fourth quarter sales of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) were $289 million, toward the upper end of the previously issued guidance range.
It took Bryant to have another dominant finish, scoring 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to give the Lakers a 106-100 victory at Staples Center.
Gas revenues recorded by the Working Interest Owners on the Trust properties increased from $701,359 in the third quarter of 2006 to $2,449,797 in the fourth quarter of 2006.
North Hollywood had its chances to put the game away but failed to convert on two fourth downs, the first of which came on the team's first possession of the second half.
OB)("Vertical"), a leading provider of next-generation, IP-based phone systems and applications that help businesses better serve their customers, announced today its financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, which ended June 30, 2006.
A Fourth of July celebration, with a mini carnival and fireworks display, 3 to 9 p.
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