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castrato

[ka-strah-toh, kuh-; Italian kah-strah-taw]
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noun, plural cas·tra·ti [ka-strah-tee, kuh-; Italian kah-strah-tee] /kæˈstrɑ ti, kə-; Italian kɑˈstrɑ ti/.
  1. 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

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his beauty.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • He laughed at people who said that a castrato could not procreate.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • 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.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • My mother advised me to continue to give myself out as a castrato, in the hope of being able to take me to Rome.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt


British Dictionary definitions for castrato

castrato

noun plural -ti (-tɪ) or -tos
  1. (in 17th- and 18th-century opera) a male singer whose testicles were removed before puberty, allowing the retention of a soprano or alto voice

Word Origin

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

n.

1763, from Italian castrato, from Latin castratus (see castration).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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