bossa nova


bos·​sa no·​va ˌbä-sə-ˈnō-və How to pronounce bossa nova (audio)
: popular music of Brazilian origin that is rhythmically related to the samba but with complex harmonies and improvised jazzlike passages
: a dance performed to bossa nova music

Examples of bossa nova in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The song, a bossa nova anthem, became the second most played in the world mainly because of her. Shania Russell,, 6 June 2023 Many of bossa nova’s leading lights were either just writers or just performers; Mr. Lyra was among the few who were both. Clay Risen, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2023 The track became a global hit and boosted the profile of bossa nova music internationally. Shania Russell,, 6 June 2023 Hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, the singer-songwriter (whose full name is Sofía Renee Jiménez Alvarado) gives a new air to pop with her soulful voice, introspective lyrics, and sonic mix of jazz, soul, bossa nova and folk. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 31 Jan. 2024 Comfortable in seemingly any musical setting, the Missouri native has collaborated with everyone from Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Steve Reich and bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim to such jazz giants as Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Oct. 2023 Uchis effortlessly taps merengue, neo-soul, bossa nova, R&B, and even a bit of urbano on the album from a fresh, distinct perspective. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 12 Jan. 2024 Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal tackle a tricky balancing act in their new feature, celebrating the intoxicating lilt of the bossa nova and also investigating the devastating brutality of state terrorism. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Sep. 2023 Alongside Antônio Carlos Jobim, Mr. Lyra was widely considered among the greatest composers of bossa nova. Clay Risen, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2023

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

Word History


Portuguese, literally, new trend

First Known Use

1960, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bossa nova was in 1960

Dictionary Entries Near bossa nova

Cite this Entry

“Bossa nova.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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