Browse Definitions :
Definition

fourth wall

The fourth wall is a conceptual barrier between those presenting some kind of a communication and those receiving it.

The term originated in the theater, where it refers to the imaginary wall at the front of the stage separating the audience from the performers. The fourth wall, along with the sides and back of the standard stage, encloses the created world of the play.

Breaking the fourth wall means doing or saying something that either explicitly or implicitly acknowledges the artificiality of the environment and the fact that both the presenters and audience are aware of that artificiality. In the theatre, for example, an actor might break the fourth wall physically by walking down from the stage, through the audience and out the door instead of exiting stage left or right. Conceptually, an actor might break the fourth wall by making a reference to the fact that he is a performer in a play, by addressing the audience directly, or by responding to something that happens in the audience, such as a crying baby or a ringing cell phone.

Breaking the fourth wall is a device used in many other contexts including video games, business presentations and television shows. Here are a few examples:

  • A PowerPoint slide that mentions death by PowerPoint -- a reference to the fact that these presentations can be almost fatally boring.
  • A commercial that refers to the fact that its purpose is to get the viewer to purchase the advertiser's product.
  • A character in a video game who asks the player about his scores in other games.
  • An interviewee who, when asked what type of salary they're looking for, says "I'd prefer you to name your best offer first. Of course I want as much money as I can get."

See also: virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic telepresence

This was last updated in October 2013

Continue Reading About fourth wall

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • threat modeling

    Threat modeling is a procedure for optimizing application, system or business process security by identifying objectives and ...

  • distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is one in which multiple compromised computer systems attack a target, such as a ...

  • social engineering

    Social engineering is an attack vector that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves manipulating people into ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

SearchStorage
  • bare-metal cloud

    Bare-metal cloud is a public cloud service that offers dedicated hardware resources without any installed operating systems or ...

  • race condition

    A race condition is an undesirable situation that occurs when a device or system attempts to perform two or more operations at ...

  • storage security

    Storage security is the group of parameters and settings that make storage resources available to authorized users and trusted ...

Close