a short opera, usually of a light and amusing character.

1760–70; < Italian, diminutive of opera opera1

operettist, noun
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World English Dictionary
operetta (ˌɒpəˈrɛtə)
a type of comic or light-hearted opera
[C18: from Italian: a small opera1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"light opera," 1775, from It. operetta, dim. of opera.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

operetta definition

Comic or lighthearted operas of the kind written by Gilbert and Sullivan. Operettas generally have a substantial amount of spoken (not sung) dialogue.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
At one end, a television mounted high on the wall shows an operetta, without the sound.
For the operetta devotee, this production has some things to offer.
He specialized in operetta and the creative reworking of plots and melodies from pre-existing sources.
The school also attempted to make money using such techniques as operetta performances.
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