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 2) 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 When Ignazio invited the opera singer Lina Cavalieri, frequently described at the time as the most beautiful woman in the world, to sing at the Teatro Massimo, Donna Franca knew what was going on. Stanley Stewart, Travel + Leisure, 24 Apr. 2022 Her father, Joseph, was a chauffeur and an opera singer whose brothers performed in vaudeville. Richard Sandomir, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Apr. 2022 Her father, Joseph, was a chauffeur and an opera singer whose brothers performed in vaudeville. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 And other musicians Signerbusters has protested — pro-war pianist Boris Berezovsky and opera singer Anna Netrebko, who refused to renounce Putin — have been dropped by their agents. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 Whistledown's going to have her hands full this season with the news that Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), having parted ways with his opera-singer mistress Sienna, is hunting for a wife. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 26 Mar. 2022 When readers meet Anthony in Quinn's series, his attraction to an opera singer named Maria Rosso is briefly mentioned in a nod to his rakish ways. Sam Gillette, PEOPLE.com, 26 Mar. 2022 Getting practical advice and connecting with other artist coders has been encouraging, says Lindsay Patterson Abdou, an opera singer who began learning programming languages before the pandemic. Makeda Easter, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Johnson has been pursuing his dreams of becoming an opera singer off and on since 2006, attending college as his finances and the pandemic have allowed. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near opera



opéra ballet

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Cite this Entry

“Opera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opera. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for opera


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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