or·​a·​to·​rio ˌȯr-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-ˌō How to pronounce oratorio (audio)
plural oratorios
: a lengthy choral work usually of a religious nature consisting chiefly of recitatives, arias, and choruses without action or scenery

Examples of oratorio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vivaldi’s only surviving oratorio was composed for the women of the Venetian girls’ orphanage Ospedale della Pieta, where the composer served as music director. Randy McMullen, The Mercury News, 6 Mar. 2024 Joined by triumphant bursts of strings and winds, John Thiessen’s bracing trumpet (celebrating the slaying of the enemies) brought the oratorio to an exuberant finish, the six singers aglow in a glorious polyphonic weave. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 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 Opera Idaho presents Critical Mass Vocal Artists in a performance of the three-part oratorio composed by Craig Hella Johnson. Michelle Jenkins, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for oratorio 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oratorio.' 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, from the Oratorio di San Filippo Neri (Oratory of St. Philip Neri) in Rome

First Known Use

1724, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oratorio was in 1724

Dictionary Entries Near oratorio

Cite this Entry

“Oratorio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oratorio. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


or·​a·​to·​rio ˌȯr-ə-ˈtōr-ē-ˌō How to pronounce oratorio (audio)
plural oratorios
: a vocal and orchestral work usually dramatizing a religious subject without action or scenery
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