[ka-strah-toh, kuh-; Italian kah-strah-taw]
- a male singer, especially in the 18th century, castrated before puberty to prevent his soprano or contralto voice range from changing.
Origin of castrato
1755–65; < Italian < Latin castrāt(us); see castrate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for castrato
In his portrait of a castrato, Andrea Sacchi let a well-hung Apollo make up for the singer's loss.The Best of 2013’s Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik
December 26, 2013
The Daily Pic: In his portrait of a castrato, Andrea Sacchi let a well-hung Apollo make up for the singer's loss.NSFW, in 1641?
September 16, 2013
He laughed, a high-pitched chirp that sounded like a castrato.My Surreal Night With Michael Jackson
July 6, 2009
This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his beauty.
He laughed at people who said that a castrato could not procreate.
The castrato whom they did engage was Carestini, who, though less celebrated, was at any rate a singularly artistic singer.Handel
Edward J. Dent
I thought he was a 'castrato' who, as is the custom in Rome, performed all the parts of a prima donna.
My mother advised me to continue to give myself out as a castrato, in the hope of being able to take me to Rome.
- (in 17th- and 18th-century opera) a male singer whose testicles were removed before puberty, allowing the retention of a soprano or alto voice
C18: from Italian, from Latin castrātus castrated
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
Word Origin and History for castrato
1763, from Italian castrato, from Latin castratus (see castration).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper