adverb or adjective
le·​ga·​to | \ li-ˈgä-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce legato (audio) \

Definition of legato

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in a manner that is smooth and connected (as between successive tones) used especially as a direction in music



Definition of legato (Entry 2 of 2)

: a smooth and connected manner of performance (as of music) also : a passage of music so performed

Examples of legato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Staccato is syncopation and legato is like a rainbow. Alessandro Corona, The Enquirer, 6 July 2022 The velvety legato that Lisiecki lavishes on the C-sharp-minor Nocturne is impossible on Planès’s period instrument, which has a crisper, tangier sound. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 Didion was rewarded for her legato, in-depth studies of America’s fraying culture—the opposite of the Twitter hot-takes that elevate today’s cultural observers to dubious star status. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, 5 Jan. 2022 All the pitches are in place, laced together in a luxurious legato. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 Horn player Alexander Kienle demonstrated a round tone and attractive legato in his solos, and principal clarinetist Gregory Raden turned in a tenderly lyrical solo. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 24 Sep. 2021 Soltani’s luscious legato tone in the short, slow introduction to the third movement was capped by an exuberant finale. Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2020 Elsewhere, Kang Wollett spun out long, legato solos in the Largo by Ives, making the dark romanticism sing. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 12 July 2019 The Tanglewood reception wasn’t extravagant, even though his encore, the Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp minor, showed Lang Lang’s filigree legato at its very best. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, 12 July 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of legato

Adverb or adjective

1786, in the meaning defined above


1740, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for legato

Adverb or adjective

Italian, literally, tied

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Cite this Entry

“Legato.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legato. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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