so·​na·​ta sə-ˈnä-tə How to pronounce sonata (audio)
: an instrumental musical composition typically of three or four movements in contrasting forms and keys

Examples of sonata in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For spice, there was a sonata by Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, one generation later than Bach. Globe Staff,, 12 Feb. 2023 To encounter one of the late sonatas on a recital program is a treat. Jeremy Eichler,, 8 Mar. 2023 Born in Reykjavik to Chinese mother who played violin in the local symphony and Icelandic economist father with a taste for Chet Baker, Laufey Lin Jónsdóttir and her identical twin sister were raised on an rich musical diet of big band standards, orchestral numbers, and classical string sonatas. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, 7 Sep. 2023 Gil Shaham, violin, and Akira Eguchi, piano The frequent partners play Fauré’s irresistible A-major sonata, Avner Dorman’s Nigunim (which has become something of a Shaham classic), plus an assortment of new and old music. Vulture, 25 Aug. 2023 The Beethoven sonata acquired its nickname from its dedication to the violinist and composer Rodolphe Kreutzer. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 24 July 2023 The sonata’s dramatic effects tempt one to connect it to Leo Tolstoy’s lurid novella The Kreutzer Sonata, but the latter wasn’t penned for another 86 years. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 24 July 2023 Artistic director and violinist Christine Harada Li will perform a violin sonata composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Anchorage Daily News, 6 July 2023 Schubert’s piano sonatas gathered dust for generations. Barton Swaim,, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sonata.' 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, from sonare to sound, from Latin

First Known Use

1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sonata was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near sonata

Cite this Entry

“Sonata.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


so·​na·​ta sə-ˈnät-ə How to pronounce sonata (audio)
: a piece of music written for instruments and usually having three or four main parts in different styles and different keys

Medical Definition


So·​na·​ta sō-ˈnä-tə How to pronounce Sonata (audio)
used for a preparation of zaleplon

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