\ˈär-ē-ə \
plural arias also arie

Definition of aria 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : air, melody, tune specifically : an accompanied, elaborate melody sung (as in an opera) by a single voice enjoyed the soprano's romantic aria

2 : a striking solo performance (as in a movie) … Russell Crowe's performance in Gladiator was all about the physical stuff—it was a brute-force aria of fighting and flexing and unleashing hell …— Jeff Gordinier

3 : a written or spoken passage or text likened to a dramatic or emotional operatic solo … a plainspoken but moving aria on the joys of rural living … .— Lauren Collins


geographical name
\ˈer-ē-ə, ˈa-rē-ə, ə-ˈrī-ə\

Definition of Aria (Entry 2 of 2)

1 an eastern province of the ancient Persian Empire; district now in northwestern Afghanistan and eastern Iran

2 — see herat

Examples of aria in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This year, festival-goers were most eager to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute, a production so influential that even the most novice opera-goer could hum along to The Queen of the Night’s famous aria. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "At Austria’s Famous Salzburg Festival, the Hills Do Come Alive With the Sound of Music," 2 Aug. 2018 Two operatic superstars, tenor Vittorio Grigolo and soprano Angela Gheorghiu, returned to the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Tuesday for a recital of arias and duets by Bizet, Gounod, Donizetti, Puccini and Bernstein. Rick Schultz,, "Grigolo and Gheorghiu give the Broad Stage its wake-up call," 2 May 2018 Abreu brings off the suicidal artist’s 30-minute succession of arias and accompanied recitatives most skillfully, while Mortellaro makes a most alluring love-object. John Von Rhein,, "Chicago Opera Theater brings flair to comic, serious Donizetti one-acters," 15 Apr. 2018 Yet matters onstage gathered force by connecting only subliminally to these arias. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "For Gay Pride, Dark Dances of Mystery, Anguish and Desire," 26 June 2018 The score keeps breaking into set-piece arias that are basically Broadway songs. New York Times, "A Soldier’s Racially Charged Suicide Becomes a Powerful Opera," 13 June 2018 The morning consisted of a Q&A with Graves, followed by arias from five of the students with the Washington native giving notes on their performances. Trevor Fraser,, "Denyce Graves hits a high note for Opera UCF students," 11 June 2018 The album also features two arias written by the late Rafael Hernandez and Torres’ own Marta y Maria, Op. George Varga,, "San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival to get Latin flavor from Néstor Torres, a devoted James Moody fan," 27 June 2018 This contrast is set up in the music: The Hubbards, especially Regina, express themselves in steely declamation, while Birdie has wistful, lyrical tunes, including the opera’s best aria. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘An American Soldier’ and ‘Regina’ Reviews: Prejudice and Power," 12 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of aria


1723, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aria


Italian, literally, atmospheric air, modification of Latin aer

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Statistics for aria

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for aria

The first known use of aria was in 1723

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English Language Learners Definition of aria

: a song in an opera sung by one person

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More from Merriam-Webster on aria

Spanish Central: Translation of aria

Nglish: Translation of aria for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about aria

Comments on aria

What made you want to look up aria? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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