can·​to | \ ˈkan-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce canto (audio) \
plural cantos

Definition of canto

: one of the major divisions of a long poem

Examples of canto in a Sentence

the first canto of Dante's “Inferno”
Recent Examples on the Web Written in two cantos, the full work is nearly two dozen verses. Gillian Brockell, Washington Post, "Washington and Lincoln were great presidents. But only one was a great poet.," 19 Feb. 2018 Although controversy surrounds the firing of the Met’s director John Copley late last month, this revival of his 1990 production of Rossini’s bel canto feast goes ahead regardless, for the first time since 1993. David Allen, New York Times, "8 Classical Music Concerts to See in NYC This Weekend," 15 Feb. 2018 Next summer Mr. Crutchfield and his bel canto operation will decamp for Purchase College, part of the State University of New York, where it will be reinvented as Teatro Nuovo. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "At Caramoor, an Operatic Milestone That’s Both Farewell and Beginning," 7 July 2017 There was hardly any Puccini, there was hardly any bel canto and no verismo. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Conductor Riccardo Chailly to celebrate 40 years at La Scala," 31 May 2017 The show convenes a suite of drawings employing that technique, made between 1958 and 1960: putative illustrations of the thirty-four cantos of Dante’s Inferno. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Audacity of Robert Rauschenberg," 29 May 2017 During the next three-hour lunch, over bowls of ramen noodle soup in a small café, words flowed and everything that emanated from the 77-year old writer's mouth sounded like the beginning of a poem, a delightful Caribbean canto. Sandra Guzman, NBC News, "Our Three-Hour Lunch With Acclaimed Cuban-Jewish Poet José Kozer," 11 May 2017 The German soprano Diana Damrau, a house favorite, shares the stage with the tenor Javier Camarena, an assured bel-canto stylist who has the taste and technique to leave a lasting impression as well. The New Yorker, "The Met: “I Puritani”," 14 Feb. 2017 And as Arturo, the man Elvira loves to distraction, a member of the Royalists, who opposed the Puritans in the English Civil War, Mr. Camarena again proved to be the leading bel canto tenor of the day. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: A Tenor and a Soprano Make ‘I Puritani’ Gleam at the Met," 12 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canto.' 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 canto

1590, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for canto

Italian, from Latin cantus song, from canere to sing — more at chant

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The first known use of canto was in 1590

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Cite this Entry

“Canto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce canto (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of canto

: a major section of a long poem


can·​to | \ ˈkan-ˌtō How to pronounce canto (audio) \
plural cantos

Kids Definition of canto

: one of the major divisions of a long poem

More from Merriam-Webster on canto

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

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