Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb & adjective In a smooth, even style without any noticeable break between the notes. Used chiefly as a direction.
  • noun A legato passage or movement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In music, in a smooth, connected manner, without breaks or pauses between successive tones: opposed to staccato.
  • noun A smooth, connected manner of performance, or a passage so performed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Mus.) Connected; tied; -- a term used when successive tones are to be produced in a closely connected, smoothly gliding manner. It is often indicated by a tie, thus �, �, or �, �, written over or under the notes to be so performed; -- opposed to staccato.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adverb music Smoothly, in a connected manner.
  • noun music A slur curve above or below a passage of notes indicating that they should be played in a legato manner.

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

  • adjective (music) without breaks between notes; smooth and connected
  • adverb connecting the notes; in music

Etymologies

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

[Italian, past participle of legare, to bind, tie together, from Latin ligāre; see leig- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from Italian legato, past participle of legare ("to tie up, tie together, to bind"), learned borrowing from Latin ligō ("tie, bind").

Examples

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