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[pee-an-uh-fawrt, -fohrt; pee-an-uh-fawr-tee, -tey, -fohr-] /piˈæn əˌfɔrt, -ˌfoʊrt; piˌæn əˈfɔr ti, -teɪ, -ˈfoʊr-/
a piano.
Origin of pianoforte
1760-70; < Italian (gravecembalo col) piano e forte literally, (harpsicord with) soft and loud, equivalent to piano soft (see piano2) + forte loud (see forte2) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pianoforte
Historical Examples
  • The only valuable article was a pianoforte, for which a regular packing-box lay invitingly ready outside.

    Army Life in a Black Regiment Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • How you would enjoy playing it on the pianoforte if you only knew how!

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
  • I am now completely absorbed in the composition of a pianoforte concerto.

  • But did you know that he's written some charming little pieces for pianoforte?

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
  • I get up at 8.30, and when I do not go to the school I stay indoors and play the pianoforte.

    Giacomo Puccini Wakeling Dry
  • This has been called the best funeral march ever written for the pianoforte.

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
  • Fantasia Concerto, in two movements, for pianoforte, with orchestral accompaniment.

  • I cannot bear a voice that has no more life in it than a pianoforte or bugle-horn.

    The Violin George Hart
  • Novel-reading, jingling at a pianoforte—merely other names for idleness—these are the parents of such follies.

  • Again we are indebted to Italy for the invention and name of the pianoforte.

    How the Piano Came to Be Ellye Howell Glover
British Dictionary definitions for pianoforte


the full name for piano1
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, originally (gravecembalo col) piano e forte (harpsichord with) soft and loud; see piano², forte²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pianoforte

1767, from Italian, from piano e forte "soft and loud," in full, gravicembalo col piano e forte "harpsichord with soft and loud" (c.1710), said to have been so named by inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua because the ability via dampers to vary the tone is one of the main changes from the harpsichord. Italian piano (adj.) ultimately is from Latin planus "flat, smooth, even," later "soft" (see plane (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pianoforte in Culture
pianoforte [(pee-an-uh-fawrt, pee-an-uh-fawr-tay)]

The full name of the piano, the common musical instrument with a board of black and white keys, eighty-eight in all. The keys operate hammers that strike wires. Pianoforte is Italian for “soft-loud”; it received this name because its level of loudness depends on how hard the player strikes the keys.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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