adverb or adjective
pi·​a·​no | \ pē-ˈä-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce piano (audio) \

Definition of piano

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: at a soft volume : soft used as a direction in music


pi·​ano | \ pē-ˈa-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce piano (audio) also -ˈä- How to pronounce piano (audio) \
plural pianos

Definition of piano (Entry 2 of 3)

: a musical instrument having steel wire strings that sound when struck by felt-covered hammers operated from a keyboard


biographical name
Pi·​a·​no | \ pē-ˈä-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce Piano (audio) \

Definition of Piano (Entry 3 of 3)

Renzo 1937–     Italian architect

Examples of piano in a Sentence

Noun Do you play the piano? He takes piano lessons on Wednesdays.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Juli’s daughter honed her piano-playing skills and learned how to sew. Washington Post, "How parents can help tweens develop their creative muscles, during the pandemic and beyond," 4 May 2021 Charles began playing piano at the age of five, growing up a block away from the counterculture mecca of Laurel Canyon. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, "Pearl Charles Goes Into the Mystic," 27 Apr. 2021 In addition to her talents in business and sports, Flury studied and enjoyed playing the piano. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Patricia Flury, former mayor of Dania Beach, dies at 84," 10 Apr. 2021 By 18, Levine became the first piano-conducting double major ever at the Juilliard School in New York City. NBC News, "James Levine, who ruled over Met Opera, dead at age 77," 17 Mar. 2021 Two piano-playing brothers hire an attractive singer to spice up their failing cocktail lounge act. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘The Searchers’; ‘Forrest Gump’," 12 Mar. 2021 Their father sang in church choirs in the Annapolis area and taught the siblings how to play the piano, according to relatives and friends. Washington Post, "Beloved Maryland musician and teacher is killed in crash on Easter," 5 Apr. 2021 William Wolfram brought virtuosity to the solo piano part, but his touch was often too heavy, especially in rapid runs, and phrases called for more direction. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Review: Spirited Gershwin from the Dallas Symphony and guest conductor Andrew Grams," 20 Mar. 2021 The opening—and title—track, introduced in 1959 by Dinah Washington, perfectly encapsulates the current pandemic moment, especially as begun by an intriguingly spare piano part from the brilliant Emmet Cohen, who’s usually more of a maximalist. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘This Bitter Earth’ by Veronica Swift Review: Dysfunction, Danger and Dependency," 16 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piano.' 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 piano

Adverb or adjective

1683, in the meaning defined above


1772, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for piano

Adverb or adjective

Italian, from Late Latin planus smooth, from Latin, level — more at floor


Italian, short for pianoforte, from gravicembalo col piano e forte, literally, harpsichord with soft and loud; from the fact that its tones could be varied in loudness

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about piano

Statistics for piano

Cite this Entry

“Piano.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piano. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for piano



English Language Learners Definition of piano

 (Entry 1 of 2)

music : quietly or softly



English Language Learners Definition of piano (Entry 2 of 2)

: a large musical instrument with a keyboard that you play by pressing black and white keys and that produces sound when small hammers inside the piano hit steel wires


pi·​a·​no | \ pē-ˈa-nō How to pronounce piano (audio) \
plural pianos

Kids Definition of piano

: a keyboard instrument having steel wire strings that make a sound when struck by hammers covered with felt

More from Merriam-Webster on piano

Nglish: Translation of piano for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of piano for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about piano

Comments on piano

What made you want to look up piano? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!