Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


[luh-gah-toh; Italian le-gah-taw] /ləˈgɑ toʊ; Italian lɛˈgɑ tɔ/
adjective, adverb, Music.
smooth and connected; without breaks between the successive tones.
Compare staccato.
Origin of legato
1805-15; < Italian, past participle of legare < Latin ligāre to bind
Related forms
nonlegato, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for legato
Historical Examples
  • legato means "bound together," for which we substitute the word "connected."

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • Do not take the over-smart differentiations of legato seriously.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • Slurs indicate either a legato touch or the grouping of the notes.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • This is the device which enables the pianist to play staccato or legato.

  • The basis of phrasing then, may be found in legato, sostenuto and contrast.

  • When he attempts the dramatic he finds that it destroys his legato.

  • In every school of singing the roulade is effected by means of the staccato and legato.

  • The Trio in B flat has a tripping theme for the viola, legato and staccato bowing in the same "figure."

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work Stephen Samuel Stratton
  • The 'cello murmured a gentle undertone; the first violin sang as sweetly and delicately as a bird, her legato perfect.

    The Second Violin Grace S. Richmond
  • Like all love-songs it is legato, andante, and pianissimo, but at the same time noticeably original and characteristic.

    Stars of the Opera Mabel Wagnalls
British Dictionary definitions for legato


adjective, adverb
to be performed smoothly and connectedly
noun (pl) -tos
  1. a style of playing in which no perceptible gaps are left between notes
  2. (as modifier): a legato passage
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, literally: bound
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 legato

1811, from Italian legato, literally "bound," past participle of legare, from Latin ligare (see ligament). Of music to be played smoothly, without intervals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for legato

Word Value for legato

Scrabble Words With Friends