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[pit-si-kah-toh; Italian peet-tsee-kah-taw] /ˌpɪt sɪˈkɑ toʊ; Italian ˌpit tsiˈkɑ tɔ/ Music.
played by plucking the strings with the finger instead of using the bow, as on a violin.
noun, plural pizzicati
[pit-si-kah-tee; Italian peet-tsee-kah-tee] /ˌpɪt sɪˈkɑ ti; Italian ˌpit tsiˈkɑ ti/ (Show IPA)
a note or passage so played.
Origin of pizzicato
1835-45; < Italian, past participle of pizzicare to pluck, pick, twang (a stringed instrument) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pizzicato
  • And through the shimmery pizzicato of the third movement the listener can see it too.
  • The pizzicato style varies between different players and genres.
  • In pizzicato playing, the string is plucked directly with the fingers or thumb.
British Dictionary definitions for pizzicato


adjective, adverb
(in music for the violin family) to be plucked with the finger
the style or technique of playing a normally bowed stringed instrument in this manner
Word Origin
C19: from Italian: pinched, from pizzicare to twist, twang
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 pizzicato

1845, from Italian pizzicato "plucked," past participle of pizzicare "to pluck (strings), pinch," from pizzare "to prick, to sting," from Old Italian pizzo "point, edge," from Vulgar Latin *pits-, probably of imitative origin. As an adjective from 1880.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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