por·​ta·​men·​to ˌpȯr-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce portamento (audio)
plural portamenti ˌpȯr-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tē How to pronounce portamento (audio)
: a continuous gliding movement from one tone to another (as by the voice)

Examples of portamento in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Cavatina of Opus 130 is steeped in unaffected Old World style, with throaty portamento slides from note to note. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2019 Varied effects of vibrato, portamento and pizzicato bring different shades of intensity, atmosphere, eloquence: Even a single austere cello line down a few tones can become fraught with significance. New York Times, 8 July 2018

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

Word History


Italian, literally, act of carrying, from portare to carry, from Latin

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of portamento was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near portamento

Cite this Entry

“Portamento.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portamento. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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