bossa nova

bos·​sa no·​va | \ ˌbä-sə-ˈnō-və How to pronounce bossa nova (audio) \

Definition of bossa nova

1 : popular music of Brazilian origin that is rhythmically related to the samba but with complex harmonies and improvised jazzlike passages
2 : a dance performed to bossa nova music

Examples of bossa nova in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Buddy Deppenschmidt, a jazz drummer who helped ignite a worldwide interest in bossa nova, is dead at 85. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential Arts: Homelessness in Echo Park is out of sight but not out of mind," 3 Apr. 2021 Blame the Big Cut on the pandemic, or on the growing deficits these sports were already running up, or on the bossa nova. Scott Ostler,, "Stanford’s Big Cut: 11 ‘minor’ sports will get the ax," 8 July 2020 Re-telling the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice during Carnival in Rio de Janiero, this Academy Award winning film became a veritable international event and kicked off a bossa nova craze across America. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "How Criterion Channel can give you the perfect film-school education in quarantine," 17 Apr. 2020 The guitarist and songwriter works in a wide range of styles from samba to bossa nova to salsa. Brandon Moeller, Houston Chronicle, "April 15-21: Churches, musicians, business groups to host virtual events," 9 Apr. 2020 This guitar’s rich tone is well-suited to many genres including classical, bossa nova, folk, flamenco, and softer rock n’ roll. Popular Science, "Kid-friendly guitars for the aspiring young strummer," 21 Jan. 2020 The 6-member collective has created a sound that embraces bossa nova, dub and reggae, acid jazz, Latin jazz and electronica. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Thievery Corporation brings sonic dreamscapes and reggae sound to Houston fans," 17 Nov. 2019 Performances for the event include Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly, an American and Celtic folk duo, and Bela Sarkozy, a solo jazz guitarist who combines elements of swing, bebop, Latin, bossa nova, and pop., "As October approaches, Interfaith Social Services in," 26 Sep. 2019 Over the course of a meal, the restaurant’s soundtrack progressed by region and genre, sort of like a wine list, from France to Brazil, jazz to bossa nova and beyond. Josie Sexton, The Denver Post, "Denver’s coolest new restaurant of 2019 is finally here — just a few days before the year ends," 20 Dec. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of bossa nova

1962, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bossa nova

Portuguese, literally, new trend

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bossa nova

Time Traveler for bossa nova

Time Traveler

The first known use of bossa nova was in 1962

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bossa nova

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bossa nova.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bossa nova

bossa nova


English Language Learners Definition of bossa nova

: a kind of music that is originally from Brazil
: a dance performed to bossa nova music

More from Merriam-Webster on bossa nova

Britannica English: Translation of bossa nova for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bossa nova

Comments on bossa nova

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!