Definition of opera

 (Entry 1 of 2)

plural of opus


op·​era | \ ˈä-p(ə-)rə How to pronounce opera (audio) , Southern also ˈä-prē \

Definition of opera (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a drama set to music and made up of vocal pieces with orchestral accompaniment and orchestral overtures (see overture entry 1 sense 2) and interludes (see interlude sense 3) specifically : grand opera Beethoven composed only one opera.
2 : the score (see score entry 1 sense 6) of a musical drama The composer finished the opera in just six weeks.
3 : the performance of an opera The opera was delayed a half hour due to technical difficulties. also : a house where operas are performed We'll meet you at the opera at 7 p.m.

Examples of opera in a Sentence

Noun I am going to an opera tonight.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As for 2019, the year's best albums were the exact opposite (in spite of efforts by Kanye West to use Jesus Is King as some kind of unifying opera). Jason Parham, Wired, "The 7 Best Albums of 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 For all of us, the Dixons make this creative endeavor of opera joyful, heartfelt and so rewarding. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "Tipping Point’s top men: Sam Cobbs and Daniel Lurie," 20 Dec. 2019 The princess movies of Disney can be seen as the direct descendants of opera. Amy Lorette Damron Kyle, Quartz, "The feminist reboot opera deserves," 20 Dec. 2019 Mom was a caring mother (and grandmother and great grandmother) and, among many other things, a gifted pianist, an excellent bridge player, and a lifelong lover of opera. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 11/24," 24 Nov. 2019 To see the title character and his sidekick perpetually snorting cocaine, for instance, enhances the sense of dissolution that pervades Falls’ view of the opera. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Lyric Opera review: A ‘Don Giovanni’ for the #MeToo era — who is far more monster than charmer," 15 Nov. 2019 The sisters’ friends respected them as ardent and remarkably knowledgeable fans of opera, with a circle of close acquaintances that included several of the world’s leading divas. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "Ida and Louise Cook, Two Unusual Heroines of the Second World War," 3 Sep. 2019 Plácido Domingo has spent decades at the pinnacle of the world of opera. Chip Reid, CBS News, ""He was like God": Retired opera singer details alleged harassment by Plácido Domingo," 13 Aug. 2019 Sam and Alisa Scherban Sam Scherban, 16, is a burgeoning Kanye opera expert. Nancy Coleman, New York Times, "Kanye West Gives Lincoln Center an Opera for Christmas," 23 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of opera


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opera


borrowed from Italian, "work, labor, artistic production, drama set to music (originally short for opera musicale, opera in musica)," going back to Latin, "activity, effort, attention, work," collective derivative from oper-, opus "work, effort, product of labor" — more at opus

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Time Traveler for opera

Time Traveler

The first known use of opera was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Opera.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opera. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for opera


How to pronounce opera (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of opera

: a kind of performance in which actors sing all or most of the words of a play with music performed by an orchestra
: a show in which opera is performed
: a group of actors who perform operas together


op·​era | \ ˈä-pə-rə How to pronounce opera (audio) , ˈä-prə \

Kids Definition of opera

: a play in which the entire text is sung with orchestral accompaniment

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Comments on opera

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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