noun, plural librettos, libretti [li-bret-ee] .
the text or words of an opera or similar extended musical composition.
a book or booklet containing such a text.

1735–45; < Italian, diminutive of libro book < Latin liber; see -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
libretto (lɪˈbrɛtəʊ)
n , pl -tos, -ti
a text written for and set to music in an opera, etc
[C18: from Italian, diminutive of libro book]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

(pl. libretti), 1742, from It. libretto, dim. of libro "book," from L. liber (gen. libri), see library. Related: Librettist.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


text of an opera, operetta, or other kind of musical theatre. It is also used, less commonly, for a musical work not intended for the stage. A libretto may be in verse or in prose; it may be specially designed for a particular composer, or it may provide raw material for several; it may be wholly original or an adaptation of an existing play or novel.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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