noun, plural falsettos.
an unnaturally or artificially high-pitched voice or register, especially in a man.
a person, especially a man, who sings with such a voice.
of, noting, or having the quality and compass of such a voice.
in a falsetto.

1765–75; < Italian, equivalent to fals(o) (< Latin falsus false) + -etto -et

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World English Dictionary
falsetto (fɔːlˈsɛtəʊ)
n , pl -tos
a form of vocal production used by male singers to extend their range upwards beyond its natural compass by limiting the vibration of the vocal cords
[C18: from Italian, from falsofalse]

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Word Origin & History

1774, from It., dim. of falso "false."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the upper register of the human voice, the opposite of chest voice. Though sometimes considered synonymous with head voice, the Italian term falsetto means "false soprano" and therefore has been used traditionally to describe only the adult male's head voice, whereby the vocal cords vibrate in a length shorter than usual and somewhat apart with a permanent oval orifice between the edges. In choirs of men and boys, especially in England, there is a long uninterrupted tradition of adult male altos singing falsetto.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
His lower register is unexpectedly resonant, and his falsetto sweetly poignant.
It is for this reason that he paints so excellently, for this also that he so
  often exaggerates and strikes into falsetto.
She played the role hunched over to look small and spoke in a singsong falsetto.
But then he goes to the falsetto, and that's rough, too.
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