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[in-ter-met-soh, -med-zoh] /ˌɪn tərˈmɛt soʊ, -ˈmɛd zoʊ/
noun, plural intermezzos, intermezzi
[in-ter-met-see, -med-zee] /ˌɪn tərˈmɛt si, -ˈmɛd zi/ (Show IPA)
a short dramatic, musical, or other entertainment of light character, introduced between the acts of a drama or opera.
a short musical composition between main divisions of an extended musical work.
a short, independent musical composition.
Origin of intermezzo
1805-15; < Italian < Late Latin intermedium; see intermediary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intermezzi
Historical Examples
  • Yet, what a master miniaturist he is in his little piano pieces, his intermezzi.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • There were no intermezzi at the representation of this lyric drama.

    Some Forerunners of Italian Opera

    William James Henderson
  • This confusion of Poliziano's "Orfeo" with spoken drama interspersed with intermezzi is unfortunate.

    Some Forerunners of Italian Opera

    William James Henderson
  • At the same time, there is no doubt that the distracting intermezzi did serious harm to the drama.

  • Toward the end of the fourteenth century the custom of introducing these pieces of music grew until they were known as intermezzi.

    How Music Developed W. J. Henderson
  • With the orchestral works should go two intermezzi for "The Masque of Pandora," finished later than the overture.

    Woman's Work in Music Arthur Elson
  • The popularity of these intermezzi throws a curious light upon the character of Italian audiences at that time.

    The Opera R.A. Streatfeild
British Dictionary definitions for intermezzi


noun (pl) -zos, -zi (-tsiː)
a short piece of instrumental music composed for performance between the acts or scenes of an opera, drama, etc
an instrumental piece either inserted between two longer movements in an extended composition or intended for independent performance
another name for interlude (sense 3)
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, from Late Latin intermedium interval; see intermediate
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 intermezzi



1834, from Italian intermezzo "short dramatic performance between the acts of a play or opera," literally "that which is between," from Latin intermedius (see intermediate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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