from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adv. Music Slowing gradually. Used chiefly as a direction.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Alternative form of rallentando.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Slackening; retarding. Same as rallentando.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In music, slackening; retarding: a direction to sing or play with increasing slowness the notes over which it is written.
Italian, present participle of lentare, to make slow, from lento, slow; see lento.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian, present participle of lentare to make slow. (Wiktionary)
Back in the 18th century they often used the term lentando, and even today there are a number of directions that mean roughly the same thing, the closest being ritardando, and also ritenuto, which generally implies a more sudden slowdown.