scher·​zo ˈskert-(ˌ)sō How to pronounce scherzo (audio)
plural scherzos or scherzi ˈskert-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce scherzo (audio)
: a sprightly humorous instrumental musical composition or movement commonly in quick triple time

Examples of scherzo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The orchestra delivered a performance to take pride in, with the first few movements punctuated memorably by the precise and powerful timpani accents of percussionist Toby Grace; the second movement scherzo was light on its feet without sacrificing gravitas. Globe Staff,, 21 Aug. 2023 The scherzo was crisp and memorable, providing, like Bruckner’s similar movements, a complete contrast. Dan Hathaway, cleveland, 6 Aug. 2023 The tempo of the scherzo bordered on alarming, save for the group’s ability to bring out inner syncopations, shape rushing scales, and give every subsidiary theme its own character and detail. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Aug. 2023 The scherzo and finale whizzed by with impressively taut coordination. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 31 July 2023 Even the scherzo, usually a lighter-hearted movement, is harmonically and rhythmically restless. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 6 July 2023 But trumpets were repeatedly too loud in balances, as occasionally were horns, although the latter made jolly sounds in their scherzo summonses. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 24 May 2023 Even the scherzo, marked con fuoco (with fire), is also marked Allegro non troppo — fast, but not too fast. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 3 May 2023 The scherzo and finale were taken at fleet tempos that would feel scrambled on the piano, but worked well enough with the chamber ensemble. Dallas News, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scherzo.' 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, joke, from scherzare

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scherzo was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near scherzo

Cite this Entry

“Scherzo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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