plural arias also arie ˈär-ē-ˌā How to pronounce aria (audio)
: air, melody, tune
specifically : an accompanied, elaborate melody sung (as in an opera) by a single voice
enjoyed the soprano's romantic aria
: 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
: 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

Examples of aria in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With this piece, Handel barges noisily through the swinging doors of the saloon of Eighteenth-century oratorio tradition, already fully at ease with the Baroque practice, begun a generation or two before, of alternating recitatives (sung dialogue) and arias. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 July 2023 Fleming sent Willems reams of classic arias to listen to, select from and rewrite to fit how kids might experience emotions like joy, disgust or shame. David Allen, New York Times, 5 May 2023 Both arias and chamber pieces are part of the program. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Aug. 2023 In riffs like this, Whitehead marries the brutally unsentimental perspective of Richard Stark’s Parker novels to the paranoid arias of Thomas Pynchon. Evan Kindley, The New Republic, 1 Aug. 2023 Composer Essentials are greatest-hits assemblages of movements and arias—rush-hour classical radio without traffic and weather. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 Isaac had just joined a dozen other children watching a puppet show, during which a friendly taco puppet introduced a somber burrito puppet that sang an Italian aria. Matt Richtel David Williams, New York Times, 6 June 2023 For modern listeners overly familiar with Handel’s operas seria, these more elaborate arias are revelatory. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 July 2023 Each of the singers has two or three arias, ranging from cynical (Alfonso) to firm (Fiordiligi), pining (Dorabella) to passionate (Ferrando), boasting (Guglielmo) to knowing (Despina). Jeremy Yudkin,, 17 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aria.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, literally, atmospheric air, modification of Latin aer

First Known Use

1723, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of aria was in 1723

Dictionary Entries Near aria

Cite this Entry

“Aria.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a song in an opera sung by a single voice

Geographical Definition


geographical name

ˈer-ē-ə How to pronounce Aria (audio)
an eastern province of the ancient Persian Empire; district now in northwestern Afghanistan and eastern Iran
see herat

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