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piz·​zi·​ca·​to ˌpit-si-ˈkä-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce pizzicato (audio)
plural pizzicati ˌpit-si-ˈkä-(ˌ)tē How to pronounce pizzicato (audio)
: a note or passage played by plucking strings


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adverb or adjective

: by means of plucking instead of bowing
used as a direction in music
compare arco

Examples of pizzicato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The Portland Columbia Symphony, celebrating its 40th anniversary all season long, and will offer a VIP fundraiser and public concert this weekend featuring headliner Alexander Markov, an awarding winning virtuoso known for his interpretation of the left-hand pizzicato section of the 24th Caprice. oregonlive, 25 Jan. 2023 It is comprised of staccato and pizzicato motifs. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 13 Oct. 2022 Muted brass are heard over a riot of pizzicato. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Aug. 2022 The first movement was nigh-on perfect, a model of musical forces in unshakeable balance, and the Scherzo was thrilling in its depth of dynamic contrast and exquisitely refined pizzicato. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 11 Feb. 2022 Her language thus had its necessary counterpoint: the Bronx’s fullness against her poetry’s economy; the streetcorner’s pizzicato against her versifier’s swing. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 25 Mar. 2022 Ken, besides his classical roots, is deeply invested in the pop sound world and particularly the use of pizzicato on the cello and all the possibilities there. Jessi Virtusio, Chicago Tribune, 28 Oct. 2022 Both Greensmith and violist Jonathan Vinocour were impressive in their ability to blend and drive through unison tremolos and pizzicato passages. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022 Its bustle of puffing trumpets and pizzicato strings were cut by entrancing interjections of oboe. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Adverb or adjective

Italian, past participle of pizzicare to pluck

First Known Use


1790, in the meaning defined above

Adverb Or Adjective

circa 1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pizzicato was circa 1771

Dictionary Entries Near pizzicato

Cite this Entry

“Pizzicato.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pizzicato. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


adverb or adjective
: by means of plucking by the fingers instead of bowing
used as a direction in music

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