noun Music.
a composition for one or two instruments, typically in three or four movements in contrasted forms and keys.

1685–95; < Italian < Latin sonāta, feminine of sonātus (past participle of sonāre to sound1). See sonant, -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sonata (səˈnɑːtə)
1.  sonata form symphony See also concerto an instrumental composition, usually in three or more movements, for piano alone (piano sonata) or for any other instrument with or without piano accompaniment (violin sonata, cello sonata, etc)
2.  a one-movement keyboard composition of the baroque period
[C17: from Italian, from sonare to sound, from Latin]

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

1694, from It. sonata "piece of instrumental music," lit. "sounded" (i.e. "played on an instrument," as opposed to cantata "sung"), fem. pp. of sonare "to sound," from L. sonare "to sound" (see sound (n.1)). Meaning narrowed by mid-18c. toward application to large-scale works
in three or four movements.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
sonata [(suh-nah-tuh)]

A musical composition for one or two instruments, usually in three or four movements. The sonata of the classic era in music had a definite arrangement for its movements: the first and fourth had a fast tempo, the second had a slow tempo, and the third was in either playful style (a “scherzo”) or in dance form (a “minuet”).

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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Computing Dictionary

Sonata definition

operating system
The code name for the major Mac OS release due in mid-1999.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Truth and falsity be damned, words stretched into circles dancing on the edge of madness, a sonata of vertigo.
Counterpoint is used to elaborate and intensify the thematic argument of sonata form.
The people liked the sonata, and they might have raised even more of a rum- pus over it if it hadn't had such an abrupt ending.
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