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sotto voce

play
adverb or adjective sot·to vo·ce \ˌsä-tō-ˈvō-chē\

Simple Definition of sotto voce

  • : in a very quiet voice

  • music : very softly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sotto voce

  1. 1 :  under the breath :  in an undertone; also :  in a private manner

  2. 2 :  very softly —used as a direction in music

Did You Know?

It’s no secret: in our first example sentence, sotto voce functions as an adverb, modifying the verb tell. But sotto voce, which was borrowed into English from the Italian word sottovoce (literally meaning "under the voice"), can also serve as an adjective. That’s the role it plays in our second example sentence. The adverb sense first appeared in English in the 18th century and soon afterward found use in musical directions calling for whispered vocals. The adjective sense came about in the early 19th century.

Origin and Etymology of sotto voce

Italian sottovoce, literally, under the voice


First Known Use: 1737


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