op·​er·​et·​ta ˌä-pə-ˈre-tə How to pronounce operetta (audio)
: a usually romantic comic opera that includes songs and dancing
operettist noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Strauss Symphony of America and a cohort of singers and dancers perform classic waltzes and operetta selections by Johann Strauss II in this festive offering. Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2022 The generations of theatergoers who grew up on book musicals, replete with original songs that were written in a distinctive Broadway style, with roots in operetta and Tin Pan Alley, are in their dotage now. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2022 The beginnings of the Golden Age of Viennese operetta had coincided with the establishment of a liberal constitutional monarchy under Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, by the terms of the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867. Larry Wolff, The New York Review of Books, 11 Mar. 2021 Like many of Disney’s animated features, Snow White’s music reflected what musical styles were popular at the time, and that included the operetta. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 2022 The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players present the comic operetta about love gone awry in the nonsensical town of Titipu. Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel, 24 Aug. 2022 Martin’s sociopathic behavior finds a mate in an older, eccentric heiress Helen (Essie Davis), whose obsession with Gilbert and Sullivan operetta creates a problematic private world. Armond White, National Review, 8 Apr. 2022 The relationship was memorialized in the 2013 operetta, Scalia/Ginsburg. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Apr. 2022 The operetta is a comic adventure filled with partying, pranking, mistaken identities and a spell in prison. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, 23 Dec. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Italian, diminutive of opera

First Known Use

1770, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of operetta was in 1770

Dictionary Entries Near operetta

Cite this Entry

“Operetta.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operetta. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


op·​er·​et·​ta ˌäp-ə-ˈret-ə How to pronounce operetta (audio)
: a light play set to music with speaking, singing, and dancing scenes

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