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[fawl-set-oh] /fɔlˈsɛt oʊ/
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for falsetto
  • 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.
  • And he does a decent job, especially with a lengthy falsetto run at the end.
  • Symptoms of adductor or abductor spasmodic dysphonia less evident during whisper, singing or falsetto.
  • Symptoms less evident during whisper, singing or falsetto.
  • He heightens the effect when he sweeps into his remarkable falsetto.
British Dictionary definitions for falsetto


noun (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
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from falsofalse
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 falsetto

"an artificial voice," 1774, Italian, diminutive of falso "false," from Latin falsus (see false).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for falsetto

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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