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[pee-an-oh, pyan-oh] /piˈæn oʊ, ˈpyæn oʊ/
noun, plural pianos.
a musical instrument in which felt-covered hammers, operated from a keyboard, strike the metal strings.
Origin of piano1
1795-1805; short for pianoforte


[pee-ah-noh; Italian pyah-naw] /piˈɑ noʊ; Italian ˈpyɑ nɔ/ Music.
soft; subdued.
Abbreviation: p, p.
1675-85; < Italian: soft, low (of sounds), plain, flat < Latin plānus plain1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for piano
  • Most ebony, however, is harvested to make musical instruments such as piano keys and the fingerboards of stringed instruments.
  • Isn't that similar to playing any instrument in the same room as a piano.
  • The guitar fret board and piano keys aren't anywhere near full-size, but they're serviceable.
  • At the end, his audience rose to applaud as for a piano virtuoso.
  • Another central area has a grand piano and live music being played.
  • Other sources of sound, such as guitar, violin or piano strings are good examples of how vibrations can generate sound.
  • The photographer once likened taking pictures in color to playing an out-of-tune piano.
  • The first silent films had been accompanied by a pit orchestra or, for the more frugally minded impresario, a lone piano.
  • Yet he once likened working in color to playing an out-of-tune piano.
  • Steel rollers and piano hinges make the design durable and easy to use, but there's no price posted yet.
British Dictionary definitions for piano


noun (pl) -anos
a musical stringed instrument resembling a harp set in a vertical or horizontal frame, played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike the strings and produce audible vibrations See also grand piano, upright piano
Word Origin
C19: short for pianoforte


adjective, adverb
(music) (to be performed) softly p
Word Origin
C17: from Italian, from Latin plānus flat; see plain1


/Italian pjˈɑno/
Renzo. born 1937, Italian architect; buildings include the Pompidou Centre, Paris (1977; with Richard Rogers), the Potsdamer Platz redevelopment, Berlin (1998), and The Shard, London (2012)
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 piano

1803, from French piano (18c.), Italian piano, shortened forms of pianoforte (q.v.). As an adverb, "softly," in musical directions (superlative pianissimo), attested from 1680s. Piano wire attested from 1831.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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piano in Culture

piano definition

A musical direction meaning “to be performed softly”; the opposite of forte. As the name of a musical instrument, it is short for pianoforte.

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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Slang definitions & phrases for piano



Spareribs, esp a single section of broiled spareribs: cornbread with a piano on a platter (1940s+ Black)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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