vi·​bra·​to vi-ˈbrä-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce vibrato (audio)
plural vibratos
: a slightly tremulous effect imparted to vocal or instrumental tone for added warmth and expressiveness by slight and rapid variations in pitch
vibratoless adjective

Examples of vibrato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Preceding Adès on the first half was viol consort music by Byrd, Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, and Henry Purcell played without vibrato by Marwood, Kenny, and Itzkoff, with Maiya Papach and Itsuki Yamamoto on violas, and the addition of Anri Tsukji on cello. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Aug. 2023 Nineteenth-century treatises and early 20th-century recordings prove that string players in Brahms’ day used only subtle vibrato on occasional long notes. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 15 July 2023 Accompanied by her band Y’all — and a trio of backup singers to provide an assist — the American Idol alum stood before the stage in emotive blue lighting and injected the popular track with her signature belt and stunning vibrato. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 17 Mar. 2023 The only slight drawback was the rather wide vibrato in Cabell’s soprano, which blurred the accuracy of her pitches and muddied some of the ensembles. Jeremy Yudkin,, 17 July 2023 These familiar pieces take on markedly different characters when the string instruments use gut strings played with no vibrato, heard with the fortepiano. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2023 In early recording sessions, the actor relied heavily on a musical theater-style vibrato. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 22 Feb. 2023 Advertisement My voice is influenced by the fiddle and the vibrato. Thor Christensen, Dallas News, 30 June 2023 What matters the most is the quality of Tina Turner’s vocal performance — the warmth and the depth, the emotion and the shading, the control and the vibrato. Caryn Rose, Vulture, 25 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vibrato.' 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 past participle of vibrare to vibrate, from Latin

First Known Use

circa 1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vibrato was circa 1876

Dictionary Entries Near vibrato

Cite this Entry

“Vibrato.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


vi·​bra·​to vi-ˈbrät-ō How to pronounce vibrato (audio)
plural vibratos
: a slightly trembling effect given to vocal or instrumental tone by slight and rapid variations in pitch

More from Merriam-Webster on vibrato

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