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contralto

[kuh n-tral-toh]Music.
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noun, plural con·tral·tos.
  1. the lowest female voice or voice part, intermediate between soprano and tenor.
  2. the alto, or highest male voice or voice part.
  3. a singer with a contralto voice.
adjective
  1. pertaining to the contralto voice or its compass.

Origin of contralto

1720–30; < Italian, equivalent to contr(a) contra-2 + alto alto
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for contralto

Historical Examples

  • It was a contralto voice, of a quality that made his pulses leap.

    The Destroyer

    Burton Egbert Stevenson

  • That is not an instrument for the production of tones in the contralto compass.

  • It is for two voices, a soprano and contralto, and is excellently written.

  • The second man might be an artificial soprano or a contralto.

  • It is a contralto that can express profound depths of feeling.

    The Girls at Mount Morris

    Amanda Minnie Douglas


British Dictionary definitions for contralto

contralto

noun plural -tos or -ti (-tɪ)
  1. the lowest female voice, usually having a range of approximately from F a fifth below middle C to D a ninth above itIn the context of a choir often shortened to: alto
  2. a singer with such a voice
adjective
  1. of or denoting a contraltothe contralto part

Word Origin

C18: from Italian; see contra-, alto
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 contralto

n.

"lowest female voice," 1730, from Italian contralto; see contra- "against, opposite" + alto. The part next above the alto.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

contralto in Culture

contralto

[(kuhn-tral-toh)]

The lowest range of the female singing voice; alto.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.