Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[fawr-tis-uh-moh; Italian fawr-tees-see-maw] /fɔrˈtɪs əˌmoʊ; Italian fɔrˈtis siˌmɔ/ Music.
(a direction) very loud.
(a direction) very loudly.
Origin of fortissimo
1715-25; < Italian; superlative of forte forte2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for fortissimo
Historical Examples
  • Yorkshiremen are keen songsters, and fortissimo is their favourite note of expression.

    The Parish Clerk (1907) Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • Her defiant speech was like the fortissimo from a full orchestra.

    Painted Veils James Huneker
  • The impression that the surprising presence of the ocean greyhound made upon Frederick was in a fortissimo scale.

    Atlantis Gerhart Hauptmann
  • When I say ‘fortissimo,’ you play fortissimo; when I say ‘allegro,’ you play allegro.

    The Master's Violin Myrtle Reed
  • It certainly has that effect, but I advise it to be used very sparingly and in fortissimo passages only.

  • Allegro and fortissimo had been McAllister's tempo and tone.

  • The composition ended with the words "Winsen, eighteen-hundred seven and forty," sung slowly and fortissimo.

  • It is said that in this piece Paganini produced a tone that dominated the whole orchestra even in fortissimo passages.

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work Stephen Samuel Stratton
  • She was part of the refrain—a note in the fortissimo of industry.

    The Underworld James C. Welsh
  • We went through the same process again, only I kept my foot on the vox humana pedal until I had crammed it 'way into fortissimo.

    Of All Things Robert C. Benchley
British Dictionary definitions for fortissimo


adjective, adverb
very loud ff
a very loud passage in music
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from Latin fortissimus, from fortis strong
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for fortissimo

1724, from Italian fortissimo, superlative of forte "loud, strong," from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
fortissimo in Culture
fortissimo [(fawr-tis-uh-moh)]

A musical direction meaning “to be performed very loudly”; the opposite of pianissimo.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fortissimo

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fortissimo

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for fortissimo