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castrato

[ka-strah-toh, kuh-; Italian kah-strah-taw] /kæˈstrɑ toʊ, kə-; Italian kɑˈstrɑ tɔ/
noun, plural castrati
[ka-strah-tee, kuh-; Italian kah-strah-tee] /kæˈstrɑ ti, kə-; Italian kɑˈstrɑ ti/ (Show IPA)
1.
a male singer, especially in the 18th century, castrated before puberty to prevent his soprano or contralto voice range from changing.
Origin of castrato
1755-1765
1755-65; < Italian < Latin castrāt(us); see castrate
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for castrato
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One could not have a pretty actress to supper without causing a scandal, but such an invitation to a castrato makes nobody talk.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his beauty.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • I thought he was a 'castrato' who, as is the custom in Rome, performed all the parts of a prima donna.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • He laughed at people who said that a castrato could not procreate.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • The castrato whom they did engage was Carestini, who, though less celebrated, was at any rate a singularly artistic singer.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • My mother advised me to continue to give myself out as a castrato, in the hope of being able to take me to Rome.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • My new visitor proved to be the first castrato of the theatre, who brought an invitation to dinner from Narici.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
British Dictionary definitions for castrato

castrato

/kæˈstrɑːtəʊ/
noun (pl) -ti (-tɪ), -tos
1.
(in 17th- and 18th-century opera) a male singer whose testicles were removed before puberty, allowing the retention of a soprano or alto voice
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from Latin castrātus castrated
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 castrato
n.

1763, from Italian castrato, from Latin castratus (see castration).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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10
11
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