stret·​to | \ ˈstre-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce stretto (audio) \
variants: or less commonly stretta \ ˈstre-​tə How to pronounce stretta (audio) \
plural stretti\ ˈstre-​(ˌ)tē How to pronounce stretti (audio) \ or strettos

Definition of stretto

1a : the overlapping of answer with subject in a musical fugue
b : the part of a fugue characterized by this overlapping
2 : a concluding passage performed in a quicker tempo

Examples of stretto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With his gestures, Widmann underscored Mozart checking off various contrapuntal tricks, inverting his subject and layering its entrances closely in stretto. Washington Post, "Irish Chamber Orchestra and its enthusiastic conductor put on a show at the Library of Congress," 21 Nov. 2019

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

First Known Use of stretto

circa 1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for stretto

stretto from Italian, from stretto narrow, close, from Latin strictus, past participle; stretta from Italian, from feminine of stretto — more at strict

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stretto

Time Traveler for stretto

Time Traveler

The first known use of stretto was circa 1740

See more words from the same year

Statistics for stretto

Cite this Entry

“Stretto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on stretto Encyclopedia article about stretto

Comments on stretto

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!