Etymology: Latin arēna, prop. harēna, sand, the sand-strewn place of combat in an amphitheatre, etc.
The central part of an amphitheatre, in which the combats or spectacular displays take place, and which was originally strewn with sand to absorb the blood of the wounded and slain. Used also, by extension, of the whole amphitheater.
fig. A scene or sphere of conflict; a battle-field.
Any sphere of public or energetic action.
Med. ‘Gravel bred in a Human Body.’ Phillips 1706. ‘Sand or gravel deposited from the urine.’ New Sydenham Soc. Lexicon 1880.
Applied attrib. to a style of play production in which the stage is so positioned in the auditorium that it is surrounded by the audience, who thus, as in the Greek theatron, see the players ‘in the round’.