ritornello

noun
ri·​tor·​nel·​lo | \ ˌri-tər-ˈne-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce ritornello (audio) , ˌri-ˌtȯr- \
plural ritornelli\ ˌri-​tər-​ˈne-​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce ritornelli (audio) , ˌri-​ˌtȯr-​ \ or ritornellos

Definition of ritornello

1a : a short recurrent instrumental passage in a vocal composition
b : an instrumental interlude in early opera
2 : a tutti passage in a concerto or rondo refrain

Examples of ritornello in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An orchestral ritornello serves as a bridge between each variation. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Listening to the Piece That Made Chopin’s Career," 30 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ritornello.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ritornello

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ritornello

Italian, diminutive of ritorno return, from ritornare to return, from ri- re- + tornare to turn, from Latin, to turn on a lathe — more at turn entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ritornello

Time Traveler for ritornello

Time Traveler

The first known use of ritornello was in 1632

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ritornello

Cite this Entry

“Ritornello.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritornello. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on ritornello

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ritornello

Comments on ritornello

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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