Definitions

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

  • adjective Played by plucking rather than bowing the strings.
  • noun A pizzicato note or passage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In music for stringed instruments of the viol family, noting the manner of playing, or the effect produced, when the strings are plucked or twanged by the finger, as in harp-playing, instead of sounded by means of the bow.

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

  • (Mus.) A direction to violinists to pluck the string with the finger, instead of using the bow. (Abrev. pizz.)

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

  • adverb music An instruction to players of stringed instruments to pluck the strings instead of using the bow. Abbreviation: pizz.
  • noun music A stretch of music that is played pizzicato

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

  • noun a note or passage that is played pizzicato
  • adjective (of instruments in the violin family) to be plucked with the finger
  • adverb with a light plucking staccato sound

Etymologies

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

[Italian, past participle of pizzicare, to pluck, from pizzare, to prick, from pizzo, point.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Italian, past participle of pizzicare, to pluck.

Examples

Comments

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  • I'm reminded of a teacher I once had. She would utter this word with particular aplomb.

    September 2, 2007

  • "Stephen walked over to his 'cello and sitting on the stern-window locker he played over the Rakes of Kerry in pizzicato. 'You should hear that at some far grassy crossroads on a fine Beltane night with the fire on the hill and the pipes playing and five fiddles and the young men dancing as though they were possessed and the young women as demure as mice but never missing a step.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 261

    March 9, 2008