glis·​san·​do | \ gli-ˈsän-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce glissando (audio) \
plural glissandi\ gli-​ˈsän-​(ˌ)dē How to pronounce glissandi (audio) \ or glissandos

Definition of glissando

: a rapid sliding up or down the musical scale

Examples of glissando in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Whose soul doesn’t soar at the sound of that remarkable opening, with its clarinet glissando? Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘A Rhapsody in Blue: The Extraordinary Life of Oscar Levant’ Review," 21 Aug. 2018 This inspired some of the others to cry out as well, until the room rang with the crisscrossing glissandos of primate music. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book," 18 Oct. 2018 Scales fly up and down, one impeccable glissando at a time, pausing briefly before climbing to the next half-step. Paul Klenk, New York Times, "‘Godfather Waltz’," 2 July 2018 Particularly striking is the third movement, packed with eerie string glissandos that set off the orgiastic climaxes that follow. John Von Rhein,, "Riccardo Muti and Yo-Yo Ma turn up the heat in an all-Russian program," 15 June 2018 Impressionistic string arpeggios, along with other rapid figures, moody thick chords and glissandi pervade much of the piece. Mark Swed,, "Salonen's 'Pollux' supplies some grunge for L.A. Phil tour," 16 Apr. 2018 Kim works within a musical philosophy that views every note and every individual articulation as alive, with glissando, attack, shape and tone as a unique and living embodiment of the music/life essence. John Adamian,, "Jin Hi Kim's One Sky II For Orchestra To Premiere At Wesleyan," 7 Apr. 2018 The waves rolling into the shore make cascades of sound, sometimes regular rhythms and sometimes duples and triples and offbeat syncopations—all set against the arpeggios and glissandos of the birds. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "‘Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine’ Review: A Longing for Truth and Meaning," 6 Apr. 2018 The effect is cross between a Monet waterlily panorama and a visual glissando, like someone zipping a finger rapidly across the keys of an organ. Steven Litt,, "Akron Art Museum celebrates lyrical abstractions of Jun Kaneko in show opening today (photos)," 17 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glissando.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of glissando

circa 1854, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glissando

probably modification of French glissade

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glissando

Dictionary Entries near glissando








Statistics for glissando

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glissando

The first known use of glissando was circa 1854

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on glissando

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glissando

Comments on glissando

What made you want to look up glissando? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!