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My question is: I know box office can be used for a theatre or a concert. But can I use it for a place as long as a ticket is sold here, for instance, can I say the box office of MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art), amusement park, etc.?


I also know the phrase ticket office, which one is more appropriate in the case MoMA, amusement park, etc.? Are there any differences between box office and ticket office?

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    The two mean pretty much the same thing, except that a "ticket office" may be in some remote location, while a "box office" is (conventionally) a glass-enclosed structure near the entrance to the facility. Plus, of course, a "ticket office" may handle airline tickets, traffic tickets, etc, stuff not commonly associated with the concept of "box office". (And places like MoMA may consider the term "box office" to be too low-brow.) – Hot Licks Sep 7 '16 at 12:24
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    @HotLicks I am not clear why box office might be seen as "low brow". That would not, in my view, be the case in Britain. The term originates (18C) from being the place where theatre boxes were hired. It is not, as one might think because they are typically small booths, with a serving window, roughly in the shape of a box! To my British mind box office sounds rather posher than a ticket office. Theatres have box offices, football grounds have ticket offices. – WS2 Sep 7 '16 at 13:04
  • @WS2 - I was speaking as understood in the US. "Box office" is where the masses queue to buy tickets. – Hot Licks Sep 7 '16 at 18:41
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According to Wikipedia, a box office is:

a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event

The term also refers to the total revenue from ticket sales, usually for movies. A "box office success", for example, brings in tons of cash from ticket sales.

The events that are covered under "box offices" are spectacles; crowds gathered together in a large room to watch something together. The venue may have "boxes", which is where the term comes from.

The term may include sporting events. I'm not entirely sure if there are regional differences with this usage.


The term "ticket office" is a catchall for places where tickets are sold. In other words, it includes box offices. If you buy airplane, Broadway, or MOMA tickets, you do so at a ticket office.

  • Laurel, how sure can we be that box office comes from theatres having private boxes, please? To which office would have been referred had I gone to your box office and tried to by a seat in the stalls, or circle? – Robbie Goodwin Sep 23 '16 at 19:57
  • @RobbieGoodwin It's the most likely origin, according to several sources. I'm not exactly an expert in the history of theater, but according to here, there was class segregation not only with seating, but also with entrances/exits. I assume there was a separate place for poor people to pay admission. – Laurel Sep 23 '16 at 21:16

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