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adverb or adjective

for·​tis·​si·​mo fȯr-ˈti-sə-ˌmō How to pronounce fortissimo (audio)
: very loud
used especially as a direction in music


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plural fortissimos or fortissimi fȯr-ˈti-sə-ˌmē How to pronounce fortissimo (audio)
: a very loud passage, sound, or tone

Examples of fortissimo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
In the Allegretto, few conductors can resist unleashing a juggernaut of sound when the processional main theme rises to its climactic fortissimo, but here again Blomstedt held back, making sure that the countermelody in the first violins came through clearly, with its legato all aglow. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 But anytime a fortissimo surfaced in any of the scores it was turbocharged into the volume level of a symphony orchestra. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 5 Apr. 2022 Well after other composers were writing quadruple fortes — ffff — Brahms never ventures here beyond a classical fortissimo (ff). Dallas News, 8 Oct. 2022 The opening of the Tchaikovsky finale is marked just mezzo-forte, but the strings dug in with a fortissimo. Dallas News, 26 Mar. 2022 What there were, however, were people clapping between movements of the symphony, and at one point in the first movement at a sudden fortissimo. Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2021 In hard-rock fashion, some of his scores were so loud that fortissimo was said to be marked with six F’s, instead of the usual two., 28 Sep. 2019 In hard-rock fashion, some of his scores were so loud that fortissimo was said to be marked with six Fs, instead of the usual two. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2019 Vanska seemed determined to emphasize the extremes with large leaps from fortissimo to pianissimo and back, moments of dancing in sunlight quickly enshrouded in thunderous clouds. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, 13 June 2019 See More

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

Word History


Adverb or adjective

Italian, superlative of forte

First Known Use

Adverb Or Adjective

1724, in the meaning defined above


1856, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fortissimo was in 1724

Dictionary Entries Near fortissimo

Cite this Entry

“Fortissimo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


adverb or adjective
: very loud
used as a direction in music
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