impresario was our Word of the Day on 01/12/2009. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
English borrowed "impresario" directly from Italian, whose noun impresa means "undertaking." A close relative is the English word emprise ("an adventurous, daring, or chivalric enterprise"), which, like "impresario," traces back to the Latin verb prehendere, meaning "to seize." (That verb is also the source of our "apprehend," "comprehend," and "prehensile.") English speakers were impressed enough with "impresario" to borrow it in the 1740s, at first using it, as the Italians did, especially of opera company managers. (By the way, despite their apparent similarities, "impress" and "impresario" are not related. "Impress" is a descendant of a Latin verb that means "to press.")
Origin and Etymology of impresario
Italian, from impresa undertaking, from imprendere to undertake, from Vulgar Latin *imprehendere — more at emprise
First Known Use: 1746
IMPRESARIO Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of impresario for English Language Learners
: a person who manages a performance (such as a concert or play)
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