adverb or adjective
ada·​gio | \ ə-ˈdä-j(ē-ˌ)ō How to pronounce adagio (audio) , ä-, -zh(ē-ˌ)ō \

Definition of adagio

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: at a slow tempo used chiefly as a direction in music


plural adagios

Definition of adagio (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a musical composition or movement in adagio tempo
2 : a ballet duet by a man and woman or a mixed trio displaying difficult feats of balance, lifting, or spinning

Examples of adagio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective Next comes adagio work, or slower sustained movements and balances, without the aid of a barre. New York Times, 25 Mar. 2020 But in the sublime, time-stopping Poco adagio, the gentle purr of the organ beneath the orchestra sounds one-dimensional. Barbara Jepson, WSJ, 31 Dec. 2018 And extreme contrasts - the fourth movement has rapidly, repeatedly alternating speeds, adagio to presto - were narrowed, giving little shock. Alan Artner,, 30 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The adagio begins with muted warmth in the strings, which Reinhardt used to highlight the winds’ unity of timbre and intonation. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2022 And while Cox and Grimaud were in sync for most of the movement, their dynamics diverged toward the adagio’s end — both landing at slightly different angles. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 The adagio movement had a lovely softness and fine balance between strings and woodwinds; and the third movement was kept light, lithe and lucid. Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2022 The work is a showcase for the first violinist, and Edward Dusinberre’s virtuosity was notable from the start, particularly in the adagio where his cascading melodies were elegantly executed with the lightest of touch. Jonathan Nussman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Oct. 2021 The ascending trills in the cadenza of the adagio of the Brahms first piano concerto, each joined by the next and then prolonged with a touch of the pedal—just a little, nothing showy—had a resonance like the shimmering of the universe. The Economist, 15 Aug. 2020 The outer movements are nervy and restless, never settling, set against a still, melancholy adagio. E.c., The Economist, 21 May 2020 That’s how Beethoven said he was inspired to write the Molto adagio movement of Op. Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2020 But the adagio third movement, the symphony’s centerpiece, proved somewhat disappointing on this night. Howard Reich,, 22 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adagio.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of adagio

Adverb or adjective

1680, in the meaning defined above


1683, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adagio

Adverb or adjective

borrowed from Italian, from the phrase ad agio, literally, "at ease," from ad, a "to, at" (going back to Latin ad) + agio "ease, convenience," borrowed from Old French aise, eise — more at at entry 1, ease entry 1


borrowed from Italian, derivative of adagio adagio entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Adagio.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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