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 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 Johnson loves to play the piano in his freetime, so was adamant that the project include a music room. Lauren Jones, House Beautiful, "Designer Claire Thomas Transformed a Former Woodworking Shed Into a Guest House," 9 Mar. 2021 Learning how to play the piano and enjoying music has provided Riley with an outlet. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Riley Kruzer realizes her passion for music: Glimmers of light in a pandemic year," 7 Mar. 2021 There was also the support of her parents, who encouraged Maraya-Ramey and her two sisters to play the piano, sing in church and indulge in a little karaoke now and again. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Chula Vista’s new multicultural performing arts center is a dream come true," 6 Mar. 2021 Robert Scholz had a passion for music, learning to play the piano as a child and developing his voice — a light and clear tenor — as his instrument of choice. Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, "Robert Scholz, composer, arranger and longtime St. Olaf music professor, dies at 81," 3 Mar. 2021 In this setting, Sorey’s piano part switches (sometimes starkly) between those varied realms, while the writing for voice manages to gracefully float between them. New York Times, "5 Things to Do This Weekend," 25 Feb. 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.

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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

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Cite this Entry

“Piano.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piano. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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

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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

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