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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Orchestra \Or"ches*tra\, n. [L. orchestra, Gr. ?, orig., the place for the chorus of dancers, from ? to dance: cf. F. orchestre.] 1. The space in a theater between the stage and the audience; -- originally appropriated by the Greeks to the chorus and its evolutions, afterward by the Romans to persons of distinction, and by the moderns to a band of instrumental musicians. Now commonly called orchestra pit, to distinguish it from the section of the main floor occupied by spectators. [1913 Webster +PJC] 2. The space in the main floor of a theater in which the audience sits; also, the forward spectator section of the main floor, in distinction from the parterre, which is the rear section of the main floor. [PJC] 3. The place in any public hall appropriated to a band of instrumental musicians. [1913 Webster] 4. (Mus.) (a) Loosely: A band of instrumental musicians performing in a theater, concert hall, or other place of public amusement. (b) Strictly: A band suitable for the performance of symphonies, overtures, etc., as well as for the accompaniment of operas, oratorios, cantatas, masses, and the like, or of vocal and instrumental solos. (c) A band composed, for the largest part, of players of the various viol instruments, many of each kind, together with a proper complement of wind instruments of wood and brass; -- as distinguished from a military or street band of players on wind instruments, and from an assemblage of solo players for the rendering of concerted pieces, such as septets, octets, and the like. [1913 Webster] 5. (Mus.) The instruments employed by a full band, collectively; as, an orchestra of forty stringed instruments, with proper complement of wind instruments. [1913 Webster]