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[kuhl-er-uh-too r-uh, -tyoo r-uh, kol-, kohl-] /ˌkʌl ər əˈtʊər ə, -ˈtyʊər ə, ˌkɒl-, ˌkoʊl-/
runs, trills, and other florid decorations in vocal music.
a lyric soprano of high range who specializes in such music.
Also, colorature
[kuhl-er-uh-choo r] /ˈkʌl ər əˌtʃʊər/ (Show IPA)
Origin of coloratura
1730-40; < Italian < Late Latin: literally, coloring. See color, -ate1, -ure Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coloratura
Historical Examples
  • No coloratura soprano can, so to speak, afford to be without it.

  • It is the dancing equivalent of a coloratura soprano rle in opera.

    Interpreters Carl Van Vechten
  • How beautiful were his coloratura, his trills,—simply flawless!

    How to Sing Lilli Lehmann
  • Their style of singing was the flexible, florid, coloratura style.

  • I am a medium, a coloratura hypnotist and a spirituous control.

  • The coloratura singer, who is an artist, can act as well as sing.

    Vocal Mastery Harriette Brower
  • Every man who drives a racing-car has a coloratura soprano beaten to death for temperament.

  • The coloratura voice will sing upper C, and it will sound very high indeed.

    Vocal Mastery Harriette Brower
  • For the coloratura music you must make the voice sound high and sweet—like a bird—singing and soaring.

    Vocal Mastery Harriette Brower
  • coloratura voices have not so much opportunity at the present time, unless they are quite out of the ordinary.

    Vocal Mastery Harriette Brower
British Dictionary definitions for coloratura


noun (music)
  1. (in 18th- and 19th-century arias) a florid virtuoso passage
  2. (as modifier): a coloratura aria
Also called coloratura soprano. a lyric soprano who specializes in such music
Word Origin
C19: from obsolete Italian, literally: colouring, from Latin colōrāre to colour
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 coloratura

"Ornamental passages, roulades, embellishments, etc., in vocal music" [Elson], 1740, from Italian coloratura, literally "coloring," from Late Latin coloratura, from colorare "to color," from color (see color (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coloratura in Culture
coloratura [(kul-uhr-uh-toor-uh)]

Elaborate ornamentation in a piece of vocal music. A coloratura soprano is one who can sing such highly ornamented parts.

The 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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