Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Music Brilliant technique or style in performance.
  • n. Music A piece or passage that emphasizes a performer's virtuosity.
  • n. A showy manner or display.
  • adj. Music Of, relating to, or being a brilliant performance technique or style.
  • adj. Showy; ostentatious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a highly technical or difficult piece, usually written for effect
  • n. a display of daring
  • adj. overly showy; ostentatious

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A florid, brilliant style of music, written for effect, to show the range and flexibility of a singer's voice, or the technical force and skill of a performer; virtuoso music.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a florid air, requiring great force and spirit in the performer, and serving to display his or her power, flexibility of voice, and distinctness of articulation.
  • In music, spirited; florid; brilliant: as, a bravura air: chiefly applied to vocal compositions, but occasionally to instrumetnal.
  • n. In painting, vigorous, brilliant treatment in both color and technique.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. brilliant and showy technical skill

Etymologies

Italian, from bravo, excellent; see brave.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian bravura ("skill"), from bravo ("good, skilful"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If you read aloud his best passages, which are written in what he calls his bravura style, you have a near approach to the music of the organ.

    Modern English Books of Power

  • The Observations is an astonishing imaginative feat, brilliantly written in bravura, bawdy style ...

    The Observations: Summary and book reviews of The Observations by Jane Harris.

  • On the roof of an opposite house are two cats, performing what an amateur of music might perhaps call a bravura duet; near them appears

    The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings With Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency

  • Rarely does a short film display the kind of bravura visual imagination found in “Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl”.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • The kind of bravura, firecracker performance that weary lobby correspondents had thought had long since been consigned to the romance of history.

    High Society

  • In everything that Mr. Smith attempts, in all his "bravura" passages, serious or comic, one is always shocked by some affectation or absurdity; something in direct defiance of all those principles which have been established by the authority of the best critics, and the example of the best writers: indeed, bad taste seems to be Mr. Smith's evil genius, both as to sentiment and expression.

    Famous Reviews

  • As a soldier, he exhibited a level of bravery and bravura generally reserved for war movies and folklore.

    Siqueiros: Biography of a Revolutionary Artist by D. Anthony White

  • She is looking forward to the ceremony, when she plans to raise the bar for awards winners everywhere with a bravura performance of wheezing - culminating in her giving her acceptance speech from the back of an ambulance while on a ventilator.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • The actors complement each other perfectly rather than provide a contest and Boyle's production is a bravura triumph in which Mark Tildesley's design provides a whole series of visual coups.

    Frankenstein - review

  • Time travel, ghosts, Albert Einstein's daughter, ancient conspiracies, a blind assassin, a Mossad agent who will die if he hears the telephone ring: With his customary bravura and skill, Tim Powers fashions a coherent and exciting story out of a strange assortment of materials.

    Dorothy June McVay Veal, March 1, 1922 – October 19, 2009

Comments

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  • “Angry nuns have been calling Congressman Bart Stupak’s office to complain about his dismissive comments on their bravura decision to make a literal Hail Mary pass, break with Catholic bishops and endorse the health care bill.”

    The New York Times, Eraser Duty for Bart?, by Maureen Dowd, March 20, 2010

    March 21, 2010