The Meaning of Cabaret: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of cabaret? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word cabaret, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word cabaret mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word cabaret is a noun that refers to a form of live entertainment, often performed in a restaurant or nightclub. The word cabaret is three syllables – cab-a-ret, and the pronunciation of cabaret is ˈkæbəˌreɪ.

These short programs of live entertainment are from European origins, such as the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris, France. They will probably have a cover charge for the light entertainment as well as payment required for a good meal. The show might be hosted by an MC or master of ceremonies and feature a form of entertainment such as a pianist, someone on drums, improvisations, an ensemble of actors, a series of acts in which performers dance like a musical cabaret, singers, a solo vocalist, dancers, a tap-room, musicians, comedians performing political satire, a floor show of dancing, a jazz club performance, and more. According to Britannica, these type of restaurant and type of entertainment were started in the 1930s as the centres of leftist opposition to the rise of the German Nazi Party and often experienced Nazi retaliation for their criticism of the government. The patrons were adult audiences and could come to these clubs in Berlin or anywhere else to drink alcohol, watch such entertainment, and be intimate with others.

There are many different languages that also use words that mean cabaret. You may notice that some of these translations look and sound similar to the word cabaret. These cognates are often formed when two words of different languages share a common origin, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations of cabaret is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Italian: cabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Georgian: კაბარე‎
  •  Galician: cabaré‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: kabareto‎, kabaredo‎
  •  Swedish: kabaré‎ (common)
  •  Thai: คาบาเร่ต์‎
  •  Asturian: cabaré‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: キャバレー‎ (kyabarē)
  •  Bulgarian: кабаре́‎ (neut.)
  •  Portuguese: cabaré‎ (masc.), cabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: kabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: կաբարե‎
  •  Russian: кабаре́‎
  •  Slovene: kabarét‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: kabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: cabaret‎ (neut.)
  •  Estonian: kabaree‎
  •  Finnish: kabaree‎
  •  Arabic: كَبَارِيه‎ (masc.)
  •  Catalan: cabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  French: cabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Albanian: kabare‎
  •  Belarusian: кабарэ́‎ (neut.)
  •  Ukrainian: кабаре́‎ (neut.)
  •  Spanish: cabaré‎ (masc.), cabaret‎ (masc.)
  •  Persian: کاباره‎ (kâbâre)
  •  Greek: καμπαρέ‎ (neut.)
  •  Mandarin: 卡巴萊‎, 卡巴莱‎ (kǎbālái)
  •  Korean: 카바레‎
  •  Danish: kabaret‎ (common)
  •  Ido: kabareto‎
  •  German: Kabarett‎ (neut.), (Austria, also) Kabaret‎ (neut.)

What are synonyms and antonyms of cabaret?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word cabaret. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are simply looking to expand your vocabulary! This list of synonyms is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  burlesque
  •  bistro
  •  discotheque
  •  cafe
  •  entertainment
  •  nitery
  •  floor show
  •  dinner theater
  •  barroom
  •  vaudeville show
  •  dive
  •  eatery
  •  revue
  •  bar
  •  supper club
  •  performance
  •  stage show
  •  lunchroom
  •  floorshow
  •  buffet
  •  nightclub act
  •  disco
  •  saloon
  •  music hall
  •  coffee shop
  •  alehouse
  •  tavern
  •  show
  •  coffeehouse
  •  café
  •  night club
  •  tv show
  •  nightclub entertainment
  •  roadhouse
  •  vaudeville
  •  nightclub
  •  theater
  •  clubs
  •  public house
  •  pub
  •  honky-tonk
  •  clip joint
  •  nightspot
  •  peep show
  •  speakeasy
  •  drag shows
  •  comedians
  •  club
  •  night spot
  •  variety show
  •  restaurant
  •  gin mill

What is the origin of the word cabaret?

According to Etymonline, the word cabaret has been used since c17 and comes from the French cabaret, a c13 word. This word may come from the Middle Dutch cambret, Middle Dutch cabret, Old North French camberette, Old French camberete, or French diminutive of cambre, from the Late Latin word camera meaning an arched roof.

What are the lyrics to “Cabaret”?

Below are the lyrics to the famous song “Cabaret” by Liza Minella, from the 1972 film directed by Bob Fosse, from Genius.

 What good is sitting alone in your room?

 Come hear the music play

 Life is a cabaret, old chum

 Come to the Cabaret

 Put down the knitting, the book and the broom

 It’s time for a holiday

 Life is a cabaret, old chum

 Come to the Cabaret

 Come taste the wine

 Come hear the band

 Come blow a horn, start celebrating

 Right this way, your table’s waiting

 What good’s permitting some prophet of doom

 To wipe every smile away

 Life is a cabaret, old chum

 So come to the Cabaret!

 I used to have a girlfriend known as Elsie

 With whom I shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea

 She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower…

 As a matter of fact, she rented by the hour

 The day she died the neighbors came to snicker:

 “Well, that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor!”

 But when I saw her laid out like a Queen

 She was the happiest corpse I’d ever seen

 I think of Elsie to this very day

 I remember how she’d turn to me and say

 “What good is sitting all alone in you room?

 Come hear the music play

 Life is a cabaret, old chum

 Come to the Cabaret!”

 And as for me, and as for me

 I made my mind up back in Chelsea

 When I go

 I’m going like Elsie

 Start by admitting from cradle to tomb

 It isn’t that long a stay

 Life is a cabaret, old chum

 It’s only a cabaret, old chum

 And I love a cabaret!

Overall, the word cabaret means a small room or small tavern that provides both food and entertainment. This word is French in origin.


  1. cabaret: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Cabaret synonyms – 254 Words and Phrases for Cabaret | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Cabaret definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  4. Liza Minnelli – Cabaret Lyrics | Genius 
  5. Cabaret | Britannica 
  6. cabaret | Origin and meaning of cabaret | Online Etymology Dictionary