kapellmeister

noun, often capitalized
ka·​pell·​meis·​ter | \ kə-ˈpel-ˌmī-stər How to pronounce kapellmeister (audio) , kä- \

Definition of kapellmeister

: the director of a choir or orchestra

Did you know?

As you may have guessed, "Kapellmeister" originated as a German word - and in fact, even in English it is often (though not always) used for the director of a German choir. Kapelle once meant "choir" in German, and "Meister" is the German word for "master." The Latin magister is an ancestor of both "Meister" and "master," as well as of our maestro, meaning "an eminent composer or conductor." "Kapelle" comes from "cappella," the Medieval Latin word for "chapel." As it happens, we also borrowed "Kapelle" into English, first to refer to the choir or orchestra of a royal or papal chapel, and later to describe any orchestra. "Kapellmeister" is used somewhat more frequently than "Kapelle" in current English, though neither word is especially common.

First Known Use of kapellmeister

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kapellmeister

German, from Kapelle choir + Meister master

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The first known use of kapellmeister was in 1838

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Dictionary Entries Near kapellmeister

kapa

kapai

kapelle

kapellmeister

kapellmeister music

kapeyka

kaph

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Cite this Entry

“Kapellmeister.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kapellmeister. Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on kapellmeister

Nglish: Translation of kapellmeister for Spanish Speakers

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