zar·​zue·​la | \ ˌzär-zə-ˈwā-lə How to pronounce zarzuela (audio) , ˌzär-ˈzwā-\

Definition of zarzuela

: a usually comic Spanish operetta

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Zarzuela is connected with the Spanish opera La Zarzuela, which entranced audiences with its different vocal and musical styles. The word toured into English in the 18th century. Alfred Einstein (the musicologist cousin of Albert) assisted in its establishment in the language by including it in his 1947 work Music in the Romantic Era. More recently, the word has begun to appear on the Spanish culinary stage as a term for a rich and savory seafood dish. A couple of the specific entrées that have emerged are the piebald "zarzuela de maiscos," a mixture of seafood, and the "zarzuela de pescados," a potpourri of fish.

Examples of zarzuela in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Martínez Casado, who played mother Juana, was stage-trained in opera and zarzuelas. Carlos Frías, miamiherald, "‘¿Qué Pasa, USA?’ cashes in, but cast feels left out: ‘They want to steal the whole thing’," 21 Dec. 2017 Rodriguez also pulls in more disparate strands from Frida’s time and place, including tangos and elements of zarzuela, ragtime, vaudeville and 1930s jazz. Paul Hodgins, Orange County Register, "Frida Kahlo’s life was an opera, so why not turn it into one?," 8 June 2017

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

First Known Use of zarzuela

1770, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zarzuela

Spanish, probably from La Zarzuela, royal residence near Madrid where it was first performed

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about zarzuela

Listen to Our Podcast about zarzuela

Dictionary Entries near zarzuela








Statistics for zarzuela

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zarzuela

The first known use of zarzuela was in 1770

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on zarzuela

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zarzuela

Spanish Central: Translation of zarzuela Encyclopedia article about zarzuela

Comments on zarzuela

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!