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[op-uh-ret-uh] /ˌɒp əˈrɛt ə/
a short opera, usually of a light and amusing character.
Origin of operetta
1760-70; < Italian, diminutive of opera opera1
Related forms
operettist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for operetta
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for operetta


a type of comic or light-hearted opera
Derived Forms
operettist, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Italian: a small opera1
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 operetta

"light opera," 1775, from Italian operetta, diminutive of opera.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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operetta in Culture

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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