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[bree-oh; Italian bree-aw] /ˈbri oʊ; Italian ˈbri ɔ/
vigor; vivacity.
Origin of brio
1725-35; < Italian < Spanish brío energy, determination < Celtic *brīgos; compare Old Irish bríg (feminine) power, strength, force, Middle Welsh bri (masculine) honor, dignity, authority Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for brio
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gozzi gave him brio and bonarietà , with cordiality and humor.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Con brio, to the horror of the monkeys who are settling for the night.

  • Tenderly and yet with a certain amount of brio the notes came dancing from the bow, and I listened, vaguely pleased.

    The Sorrows of Satan Marie Corelli
  • Their eloquence is natural and contagious, and the peroration, delivered with brio, is often an artistic treat.

    Heroic Spain Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • When the week was up Mat implored to be left behind with Angela, the maid, and brio, a big poodle possessed of the devil.

    Shawl-Straps Louisa M. Alcott
  • This brio, an Italian word which the French have begun to use, is characteristic of youthful work.

    Cousin Betty Honore de Balzac
  • Certainly Gurickx played magnificently, and with a brio I have rarely heard equalled.

  • Albanesi has a charming, delicate touch, and plays with all the Italian brio.

    Letters of a Diplomat's Wife Mary King Waddington
British Dictionary definitions for brio


liveliness or vigour; spirit See also con brio
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, of Celtic origin
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 brio

"liveliness, vivacity," 1734, from Italian brio, literally "mettle, fire, life," perhaps a shortened derivative of Latin ebrius "drunk." Or via Provençal briu "vigor," from Celtic *brig-o- "strength," from PIE *gwere- "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). Probably entered English via musical instruction con brio.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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