li·​bret·​to lə-ˈbre-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce libretto (audio)
plural librettos or libretti lə-ˈbre-(ˌ)tē How to pronounce libretto (audio)
: the text of a work (such as an opera) for the musical theater
: the book containing a libretto

Examples of libretto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Quaid’s libretto and Schlosberg’s treatment of it are more sure of themselves. Joshua Barone, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 The libretto makes the point that this young wife was all but abandoned by the U.S. military and American public during her husband’s captivity. Mary Carole McCauley, Baltimore Sun, 25 Jan. 2024 Jean-Baptiste Moreau, with a libretto by Jean Racine; the other an oratorio by Handel, with an English libretto by poet Samuel Humphreys. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 But Matt Copson, who co-directed it and also wrote its libretto, knows everyone will call it something else: the Kurt Cobain opera. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 1 Feb. 2024 Based on a libretto by Händl Klaus, the work focuses on the title character, whose boyfriend, Matthias, has just died in a hospital. Jeffrey Arlo Brown, New York Times, 17 Jan. 2024 The movie is adapted both from Alice Walker’s novel and from Marsha Norman’s musical libretto. The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2023 The libretto tends not to specify individuals, instead assembling a collage of overlapping voices. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 With a high chain-link fence awkwardly shoving much of the action to a thin strip downstage, the first act takes place outside a factory making weapons, rather than the libretto’s cigarettes. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 1 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Italian, diminutive of libro book, from Latin libr-, liber

First Known Use

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of libretto was in 1742

Dictionary Entries Near libretto

Cite this Entry

“Libretto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


li·​bret·​to lə-ˈbret-ō How to pronounce libretto (audio)
plural librettos or libretti -ē How to pronounce libretto (audio)
: the text of an opera or musical

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