sec·​co | \ ˈse-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce secco (audio) \

Definition of secco

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the art of painting on dry plaster


adjective or adverb

Definition of secco (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : short and very staccato used as a direction in music
2 of a recitative : accompanied only by the instruments playing the continuo

Examples of secco in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The restaurant’s Old King Cole martini (one of dozens in Simonson’s book) combines Old Raj gin, Mancino secco vermouth and Angostura orange bitters. M. Carrie Allan, Washington Post, "How to make a martini your guests will love — or at least love to argue about," 11 Sep. 2019

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

First Known Use of secco


1852, in the meaning defined above

Adjective or adverb

circa 1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for secco


Italian, from secco dry, from Latin siccus — more at sack

Adjective or adverb

Italian, literally, dry

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about secco

Time Traveler for secco

Time Traveler

The first known use of secco was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Statistics for secco

Cite this Entry

“Secco.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2020.

Comments on secco

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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