con·​tral·​to | \ kən-ˈtral-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce contralto (audio) \
plural contraltos

Definition of contralto

1a : a singing voice having a range between tenor and mezzo-soprano
b : a person having this voice
2 : the part sung by a contralto

Examples of contralto in a Sentence

a duet performed by a soprano and a contralto

Recent Examples on the Web

Milosh, who formed Rhye with producer Robin Hannibal but now works it as a solo project, is best known for his breathy, androgynous contralto. Randall Roberts,, "California Sounds: New music from Deb Never, Sublime with Rome and Rhye," 5 June 2019 The snare drum death march and the psychedelic Jefferson Airplane-like flourishes seem to accentuate Dylan’s vitriolic, unforgiving words in a silly way, but Cher’s steadfast contralto grounds the affair. Jessi Roti,, "15 of the weirdest Bob Dylan cover songs to celebrate his birthday," 24 May 2018 While West's vaudevillian attitude was practically a genetic predisposition by nature of her husky contralto voice and charisma, Sontag argues that West knew how to play to her audience—and her hyper-feminine beauty is evidence of just that. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "From Josephine Baker to Cher, 25 Camp Beauty Icons Through the Decades," 2 May 2019 Daniel Okulitch brought a brutal heft to General Leslie Groves ; Meredith Arwady an otherworldly contralto to Pasqualita, the Oppenheimers’ Tewa housekeeper; and Andrew Harris a sardonic bite to the scientist Edward Teller. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "Staging Reimagined Stories in New Mexico," 6 Aug. 2018 Survivors include his daughter, contralto Sonya Alexandra Knussen of Baltimore; a brother; and a sister. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Oliver Knussen, influential composer of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ opera, dies at 66," 12 July 2018 Roberts's contralto voice grounds a Lina set adrift in a confusing universe of puppets and apparitions. Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader, "The four plays that make up Stories of the Body plumb the depths of women’s experience," 30 May 2018 Meticulously crafted and ever-evolving in collaboration with French master creator and ex-paramour Jean-Paul Goude, the singer’s Afrofuturist image is as integral to her character as her sultry contralto and subversive stage presence. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Grace Jones! 18 Times the Fearless Pop Icon Broke the Beauty Mold," 19 May 2018 Her smooth contralto vocals were as amazing as ever. Kevinisha Walker,, "Anita Baker 'gives the best she's got' at Jazz Fest 2018," 6 May 2018

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

1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contralto

Italian, from contra- + alto

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Statistics for contralto

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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The first known use of contralto was in 1740

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English Language Learners Definition of contralto

: the lowest female singing voice also : a female singer with such a voice


con·​tral·​to | \ kən-ˈtral-tō How to pronounce contralto (audio) \
plural contraltos

Kids Definition of contralto

1 : the lowest female singing voice : alto
2 : a singer with a low female singing voice

More from Merriam-Webster on contralto

Spanish Central: Translation of contralto

Nglish: Translation of contralto for Spanish Speakers

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