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."

captive audience

An audience that cannot escape a particular presentation—a speech, play, sermon, or the like. For example, “The preacher always makes his sermon twice as long on big holidays—he knows he’s got a captive audience.” This phrase originated in the United States about 1900.
References in classic literature ?
Any audience, save a prize fighting one, would have exhausted its emotions in that first minute.
"The smile that won't come off!" somebody yelled, and the audience laughed loudly in its relief.
When I entered the room, there were vigorous cheers from the coloured portion of the audience, and faint cheers from some of the white people.
The address which I delivered at Madison, before the National Educational Association, gave me a rather wide introduction in the North, and soon after that opportunities began offering themselves for me to address audiences there.
Magdalen's disguised re-appearance at the end of the act, in the character of "Lucy" -- with false hair and false eyebrows, with a bright-red complexion and patches on her cheeks, with the gayest colors flaunting in her dress, and the shrillest vivacity of voice and manner -- fairly staggered the audience. They looked down at their programmes, in which the representative of Lucy figured under an assumed name; looked up again at the stage; penetrated the disguise; and vented their astonishment in another round of applause, louder and heartier even than the last.
The audience politely applauded Miss Marrable, as became the guests assembled in her father's house: and good-humoredly encouraged the remainder of the company, to help them through a task for which they were all, more or less, palpably unfit.
(here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) "will excuse me when I say that they are necessarily both superficial and misleading, since they have to be graded to the comprehension of an ignorant audience." (Ironical cheering.) "Popular lecturers are in their nature parasitic." (Angry gesture of protest from Mr.
The whole great audience seethed and simmered like a boiling pot.
Peele and Greene were University men who wrote partly for Court or academic audiences, partly for the popular stage.
Again, in spite of the prolog in 'Tamburlaine,' Marlowe, in almost all his plays, and following the Elizabethan custom, does attempt scenes of humor, but he attains only to the coarse and brutal horse-play at which the English audiences had laughed for centuries in the Mystery plays and the Interludes.
The first burst of Mars's sudden dawn brought messengers from Kulan Tith, summoning us to the audience chamber where Thuvan Dihn was to receive his daughter after years of separation, and I was to be reunited with the glorious daughter of Helium after an almost unbroken separation of twelve years.
For a moment the silence of death reigned in the great audience chamber of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol.
Often as she had recited in public, she had never before faced such an audience as this, and the sight of it paralyzed her energies completely.
A great cry arose from the audience then: "Justice!
First, let all humans inform themselves of the inevitable and eternal cruelty by the means of which only can animals be compelled to perform before revenue-paying audiences. Second, I suggest that all men and women, and boys and girls, who have so acquainted themselves with the essentials of the fine art of animal-training, should become members of, and ally themselves with, the local and national organizations of humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals.