32 film and theatre glossaries

Screenwriting, directing, lightning, audio, stage performance and much more. If your interest lies in the fields of film and theatre, these glossaries are for you. Two categories and detailed descriptions – you will definitely find what you are looking for.


IMDB – IMDB is probably one of the most reliable Internet sources of information when it comes to movies. In their glossary, you will be able to find a large number of words used in the movie industry, as well as useful cross-references.

Matthew Sewell – A great glossary of film-related terminology which will provide you with adequate illustrations (from popular films) for each of the terms explained.

Durham University – A glossary of film-related terminology, which focuses on words commonly used in direction and production.

FilmSite – A carefully put together glossary of film terminology. The words are arranged both in alphabetic order and according to their category (genre, history, screenwriting, directing, etc.). Furthermore, each word comes with a thorough explanation and examples (both verbal and illustrated).

Springhurst – This is a very basic glossary of film-related terms. You can find here only the most popular words used in the industry, but their explanations are very easy to understand, even if you are a beginner.

New York Film Academy – Another short but comprehensive glossary of film terminology. You may be able to find here words that were not listed in the previously-mentioned glossaries.

College of DuPage – A film glossary focusing especially on the most technical and most commonly used terms of the industry.

Portland Community College – This glossary of film-related terms is somewhat better organised than the previously mentioned ones. Words are categorized according to their specific field: shots, editing and sequence construction, transitions, photographic and technical particularities. The last section is dedicated to terms that do not belong to any of the categories, but are worth mentioning.

Kodak – This glossary is dedicated especially to the technical part of the filmmaking process. The terms are all related to film/ video terms, such as aspect ratio for instance.

Film Land – A glossary of film, audio and video terminology, with a focus on the production and post-production processes.

Film English – Although this list of film-related terms is not very long, it will provide you with very good explanations, as well as video examples that will help you understand the term better.

BFI Screenonline – This is a very good glossary on cinematography-related terminology. It contains both words strictly related to filmmaking and words related to the art of cinema in general.

Movies Dictionary – Probably one of the most complete sources of information when it comes to film terminology. It includes both terms connected to filmmaking in general and very particular terms encountered in some movies.

Annenberg Learner – A short, but useful glossary when you are searching for terms strictly connected to movie editing.

Salisbury University – This glossary of film terminology focuses especially on the literary part of the filmmaking process (scriptwriting).

Brooklyn College – Although many of the terms in this film glossary may have been encountered in previously-mentioned glossaries, the best thing about this particular one is the fact that some words have pictures that are both funny and make understanding the term much, much easier.

FilmSound – A very short glossary of film audio terminology with easy to understand brief explanations at first and extensive ones upon clicking the term.

All About Film School – A good glossary when looking for rather general terms encountered on film sets.

Screenwriting – A glossary focusing especially on screenwriting terminology.


Theatrecrafts – An excellently organised glossary of theatre technical terms. You can search for your terms in an alphabetical list, you can enter them in a search bar, or you can search them according to their category (beginners’ terms, advanced lightning, and so on).

The British Theatre Guide – A fairly rich resource for those of you looking for generic theatrical terminology.

Wikipedia – A great source of information on theatre/ stage terminology, especially if you like well organised cross-references!

Wiktionary – Another amazing resource when it comes to theatre terms (also providing cross-references). Besides purely technical terms, you can find here terms related to acting techniques as well.

Goodman Theatre – A glossary dedicated to theatre and the terms that are very commonly used in it. Furthermore, the site provides the reader with a link towards a 100% video glossary.

J.R.Clancy – This glossary focuses on the most technical of the theatre terms (such as parts of the stage, equipment, etc.)

Barlow and Associates – A glossary of theatre terms also dealing with ‘technicalities’, including lighting and other ‘special effects’.

McGraw Hill – A glossary dedicated to the literary part of the theatre: drama.

California State Board of Education – A theatre and stage performance arts glossary, which includes types of theatre, production-related terms, as well as acting-related terms.

TechTheatreBSL – An excellent resource on theatrical terminology in the British Sign Language (BSL). The glossary is organized in five parts: scenography, stage movements, lighting, sound and wardrobe. Each of the parts has a video that explains the terms in BSL.

Shakespeare’s Globe – This glossary of theatrical terms contains the most popular words used in theatre, including those related specifically to British theatres.

The Ancient Theatre Archive – A glossary of theatre-related terminology that focuses on ancient theatre. In addition to good explanations, the site comes to your aid with a pronunciation guide as well (which may prove very useful, especially since most of the terms are in Latin and Old Greek).

Plays in Perpetuity – A glossary focused on the most common used words in theatre. You can select the word for which you need explanation from a drop-down menu.