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1724, from Italian staccato, literally "detached, disconnected," from past participle of staccare "to detach," shortened form of distaccare "separate, detach," from Middle French destacher, from Old French destachier "to detach" (see detach).
A direction in music meaning that the notes should be performed in an abrupt, sharp, clear-cut manner.
Note: The term staccato has been applied generally to things that occur in rapid bursts, such as gunfire.