col·​or·​a·​tu·​ra ˌkə-lə-rə-ˈtu̇r-ə How to pronounce coloratura (audio)
often attributive
: elaborate embellishment in vocal music
broadly : music with ornate figuration
: a soprano with a light agile voice specializing in coloratura

Examples of coloratura in a Sentence

a performance without much coloratura
Recent Examples on the Web With samples and production textures tailor-made for her coloratura, Beyoncé reimagines yesteryear dance grooves and launches them well into the future. Jaelani Turner-Williams, Variety, 28 Mar. 2024 A great deal of the plot was devoted to the Phantom’s attempts to replace Carlotta, a fussy coloratura soprano with a thick Italian accent, with his beloved Christine. Vulture, 28 Mar. 2023 My voice is a light lyric soprano, with a bit of coloratura. New York Times, 27 May 2022 But her voice — and her rapid-fire coloratura — are remarkably well preserved, and her enthusiasm is irresistible. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2022 Is agency merely singing like a bird, with mind-bending coloratura? Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2022 And Kyaunnee Richardson is especially memorable with a beautifully playful coloratura and a winning way with a snarky aside. Matthew J. Palm,, 18 Dec. 2020 Known for long phrases with boundless colors, emotions and dynamics, Rae’s coloratura soared effortlessly with a glittery vibrato, especially in the Richard Strauss and Fanny Mendelssohn pieces. Grace Jean, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2019 His agility might be compared to that of a coloratura soprano. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2020

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

Word History


borrowed from 17th-century Italian, "coloring," from Latin colōrātus, past participle of colōrāre "to color entry 2" + Italian -ura -ure

Note: Though conventionally attributed to Italian in German dictionaries since the 17th century, the word apparently first appears in a musical sense in German (as Coloraturen, given as a synonym of Latin Diminutiones "diminutions," in Michael Praetorius, Syntagmatis musici tomus tertius, Wolfenbüttel, 1619, p. 232).

First Known Use

circa 1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of coloratura was circa 1740

Dictionary Entries Near coloratura

Cite this Entry

“Coloratura.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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