adverb or adjective
pi·​a·​nis·​si·​mo | \ ˌpē-ə-ˈni-sə-ˌmō How to pronounce pianissimo (audio) \

Definition of pianissimo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very softly used as a direction in music


\ ˌpē-ə-ˈni-sə-(ˌ)mē How to pronounce pianissimo (audio) \
plural pianissimi or pianissimos

Definition of pianissimo (Entry 2 of 2)

: a passage played, sung, or spoken very softly

Examples of pianissimo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rorem’s is a simple and ingenious song — which allows Price to float a high pianissimo, at the end, forever. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 1 Sep. 2021 The air was perfumed, and from somewhere overhead, a melody was playing, pianissimo. Te-ping Chen, The Atlantic, 11 Dec. 2020 Forget about pianissimo's complexity; only at Alexa's top volume can the notes even be heard. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 18 Feb. 2020 Her fortissimos were what we’d consider mezzo-fortes from most violinists; some pianissimos were shaded down to near inaudibility. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 9 Feb. 2020 The music conveys the plot in a vivid fashion, moving from mysterious pianissimos to quirky, off-balance passages and forceful climaxes. Jessica Rudman, courant.com, 7 Dec. 2019 The crucial thing in terms of looking at the score is this pianissimo for the bottom two staves. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2017 His sound is sweet, burnished and perfectly controlled, with a gorgeous pianissimo that is feathery but distinct. Paul Hodgins, Orange County Register, 3 Feb. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of pianissimo

Adverb or adjective

circa 1710, in the meaning defined above


1781, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pianissimo

Adverb or adjective

Italian, from piano softly

Learn More About pianissimo

Time Traveler for pianissimo

Time Traveler

The first known use of pianissimo was circa 1710

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near pianissimo




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for pianissimo

Cite this Entry

“Pianissimo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pianissimo. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for pianissimo



English Language Learners Definition of pianissimo

: very softly


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!