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soprano

[suh-pran-oh, -prah-noh] /səˈpræn oʊ, -ˈprɑ noʊ/ Music.
noun, plural sopranos.
1.
the uppermost part or voice.
2.
the highest singing voice in women and boys.
3.
a part for such a voice.
4.
a singer with such a voice.
adjective
5.
of or relating to a soprano; having the compass of a soprano.
Origin of soprano
1720-1730
1720-30; < Italian: literally, what is above, high, equivalent to sopra (< Latin suprā above) + -ano adj. suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for soprano
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hence it was not uncommon in Italy to castrate boys in order to fit them for soprano singers when adults.

  • Other things of Maria Angelina than her soprano were missed, also.

    The Innocent Adventuress Mary Hastings Bradley
  • A tireless Italian soprano and a Russian tenor were grinding out some of the stock music of the place.

  • A soprano voice was heard, and I listened as critically as I could.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • Amongst other reasons he had a bit of a penchant for the soprano's understudy.

    The Recipe for Diamonds Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne
British Dictionary definitions for soprano

soprano

/səˈprɑːnəʊ/
noun (pl) -pranos, -prani (-ˈprɑːniː)
1.
the highest adult female voice, having a range approximately from middle C to the A a thirteenth above it
2.
the voice of a young boy before puberty
3.
a singer with such a voice
4.
the highest part of a piece of harmony
5.
  1. the highest or second highest instrument in a family of instruments
  2. (as modifier): a soprano saxophone
See also treble
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from sopra above, from Latin suprā
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 soprano
n.

1738, "the highest singing voice," ranging easily through the two octaves above middle C, from Italian soprano "the treble in music," literally "high," from sopra "above," from Latin supra, fem. ablative singular of super (see super-). Meaning "a singer having a soprano voice" is from 1738. As an adjective from 1730. Soprano saxophone is attested from 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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soprano in Culture

soprano definition


The highest range of the female singing voice. (Compare alto and mezzo soprano.)

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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9
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