glis·​san·​do gli-ˈsän-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce glissando (audio)
plural glissandi gli-ˈsän-(ˌ)dē How to pronounce glissando (audio) or glissandos
: a rapid sliding up or down the musical scale

Examples of glissando in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each key was associated with a particular note, but the pitch of the note could be tuned by rolling back and forth on the key, similar to how a violinist might produce a vibrato or glissando. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Feb. 2024 The two violinists beautifully etched a winter of stark stillness; a gusty, indecisive spring; a summer of slumping glissandos and whirring bugs; and a pouncing autumn, crisp and scrubby. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 4 Dec. 2023 Textures and gestures, such as upward glissandos or pizzicato arpeggios are similarly indicated. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2023 Towards the end of 201, Loki is walking down a TVA corridor as a phone is ringing, and your cue included this Jóhann Jóhannsson-esque glissando. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Oct. 2023 The glissando continued to be her calling card, Mr. Gann said this week by email. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 In the chromatic glissando, which Liszt picked up from his student Carl Tausig, one right-hand finger sweeps across the white keys while the left hand races just behind, on the black keys. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 When the orchestra came in, led by a harp glissando that was like a leap out of the void, the texture was rich and decadently sensual. Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 So the seals do a long glissando, the longer the better. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2014

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

Word History


probably modification of French glissade

First Known Use

circa 1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glissando was circa 1854

Dictionary Entries Near glissando

Cite this Entry

“Glissando.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


glis·​san·​do gli-ˈsän-dō How to pronounce glissando (audio)
plural glissandi -(ˌ)dē How to pronounce glissando (audio) or glissandos
: a rapid sliding up or down the musical scale
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