ri·​cer·​car ˌrē-(ˌ)chər-ˈkär How to pronounce ricercar (audio)
variants or ricercare
plural ricercars or ricercari ˌrē-(ˌ)chər-ˈkä-(ˌ)rē How to pronounce ricercar (audio)
: any of various usually keyboard musical forms especially of the 16th and 17th centuries in either quasi-improvisatory toccata style or strict polyphonic fugal style

Word History


Italian, from ricercare to seek again, seek out, from ri- re- (from Latin re-) + cercare to seek, from Late Latin circare to go about — more at search

First Known Use

1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ricercar was in 1773

Dictionary Entries Near ricercar

Cite this Entry

“Ricercar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ricercar. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on ricercar

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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