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[li-bret-oh] /lɪˈbrɛt oʊ/
noun, plural librettos, libretti
[li-bret-ee] /lɪˈbrɛt i/ (Show IPA)
the text or words of an opera or similar extended musical composition.
a book or booklet containing such a text.
Origin of libretto
1735-45; < Italian, diminutive of libro book < Latin liber; see -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for libretto
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Historical Examples
  • Just now, while Susan and you were in the garden, Armand Gillier asked me if we would give up his libretto.

    The Way of Ambition Robert Hichens
  • I do not claim that our libretto was good poetry but it served as a vehicle for the tunes.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
  • In constructing the libretto Alexander Duval followed the Biblical story.

  • And he has written a grand opera on a mediæval theme to his own libretto.

  • After living some time in Milan, he received a copy of the libretto, "Il Proscritto," and in 1842 it was performed.

  • Let Caesar claim the writing of the libretto, if it be Caesar's!

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
  • I may write the libretto myself and get Livadi to do the music.

    The Arm-Chair at the Inn F. Hopkinson Smith
British Dictionary definitions for libretto


noun (pl) -tos, -ti (-tiː)
a text written for and set to music in an opera, etc
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, diminutive of libro book
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 libretto

(plural libretti), 1742, from Italian libretto, diminutive of libro "book," from Latin liber (genitive libri), see library. Related: Librettist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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