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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
  • The dramatic arc of the music sometimes matches the libretto and sometimes follows its own logic.
  • The composer has not consciously violated the spirit of the play, for which he provided his own libretto.
  • Anyone who has closely studied the music and libretto might be astonished by such a superficial take on the opera.
  • Among the plays are sketches, full-length comedies and dramas, and a libretto.
  • And he memorized the entire libretto of his favorite operas.
  • She gave an example of the publisher of a libretto that used the same number for both the stock number and the publisher number.
  • All copies of the morose libretto were ordered destroyed, although one or two survived.
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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