pi·​a·​nis·​tic ˌpē-ə-ˈni-stik How to pronounce pianistic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of the piano
: skilled in or well adapted to piano playing
pianistically adverb

Did you know?

The origin of "pianistic" won’t surprise anyone - it’s ultimately from "piano," of course. But the "-istic" suffix is less than ubiquitous and bears some attention. It is used from time to time to create adjectives that correspond to nouns ending primarily in "-ism" or "-ist." (In this case, both "pianism" and "pianist" outdate "pianistic," although only by a few years.) The pedigree of "-istic" isn’t too surprising; etymologists report that it comes from Middle French ("-istique"), Latin ("-isticus"), and ultimately Greek ("-istikos"). As with words formed from the suffix -ic, words ending in "-istic" can sometimes find life as nouns - for example, "autistic" and "characteristic."

Examples of pianistic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Exhausted by his fruitless labors, Bart falls asleep at the piano and dreams that he has been sent, along with 499 other boys, to a pianistic penal colony ruled over by Dr. T. A single huge keyboard is at the center of the colony; the children miserably take their places at it and begin to play. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 6 Apr. 2022 Ravel’s four-hand arrangement of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun isn’t as evocative as the original orchestration, instead exploring pianistic colors. Dallas News, 30 June 2022 But before long, in a transition that few composers could handle so successfully, stark pianistic marching leads the orchestra into the punchy environs of percussive Americana. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2022 Near the end of his far too short life, already shadowed by illness, Schubert is also the master of subtle but telling pianistic gestures. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 31 Jan. 2022 Among his students were Franz Liszt and Theodor Leschetizky; Barnatan and Ohlsson can trace their pianistic pedigrees back to Czerny. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Aug. 2022 For devotees of old films, listening to it brings back memories of countless midcentury movie scores that quoted its melodies, and so, by now this music blends redolences of vintage cinematic Americana with grand European pianistic virtuosity. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2022 Frogs croak, a skylark soars above all in dazzling pianistic glitter, grasshopper warblers rattle as their names suggest, and one reed warbler enters into a rapturous contrapuntal duet with another. Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Rabinovich is a newcomer to SummerFest and shares many of the pianistic sensibilities of Barnatan: clarity of line, an expressive cantabile tone and a respect for the composer’s intentions. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pianistic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of pianistic was in 1843


Dictionary Entries Near pianistic

Cite this Entry

“Pianistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pianistic. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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