Definition of staccato
- staccato notes
- a staccato style
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
the staccato blasts of a horn
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'staccato.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
English has borrowed a number of words from Italian that instruct on how a piece of music should be played. Examples include "allegro" ("at a brisk lively tempo"), "adagio" ("at a slow tempo"), and "fortissimo" ("very loud"). The instruction "staccato" describes music composed of tones that are short and noncontinuous rather than smoothly flowing together (a style noted by the instruction "legato"). Staccato derives from the past participle of the Italian verb staccare, meaning "to detach," and can now describe anything - not just sounds - made, done, or happening in an abrupt or disjointed way.
music : short and not sounding connected
: sudden and brief
What made you want to look up staccato? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ