Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pawr-tuh-men-toh, pohr-; Italian pawr-tah-men-taw] /ˌpɔr təˈmɛn toʊ, ˌpoʊr-; Italian ˌpɔr tɑˈmɛn tɔ/
noun, plural portamenti
[pawr-tuh-men-tee, pohr-; Italian pawr-tah-men-tee] /ˌpɔr təˈmɛn ti, ˌpoʊr-; Italian ˌpɔr tɑˈmɛn ti/ (Show IPA),
portamentos. Music.
a passing or gliding from one pitch or tone to another with a smooth progression.
Origin of portamento
1765-75; < Italian: fingering, literally, a bearing, carrying. See port5, -ment Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for portamento
Historical Examples
  • Does she overdo the use of portamento, messa di voce, and such devices?

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • It is even likely that she will improve her knowledge of portamento while she is washing dishes.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • It should be practiced very slowly at first, and with portamento.

  • The portamento—gliding from one note to another—is also a lovely effect.

    Violin Mastery Frederick H. Martens
  • At one point the boys took a portamento—a grace which very few choirmasters would attempt with boys.

    The Boy's Voice J. Spencer Curwen
  • Every note must be distinct, and not the faintest suspicion of a "slur" or portamento can be allowed.

    Advice to Singers

    Frederick James Crowest
  • The tones must also follow each other cleanly, unless the character of the music makes the use of portamento desirable.

    Essentials in Conducting Karl Wilson Gehrkens
  • You, who know what is meant by singing with portamento, would find rare satisfaction in her singing of it.

  • Some minor effects utilized in Style in singing may be briefly alluded to: portamento; variations of Tempo.

    Style in Singing W. E. Haslam
  • The portamento being an embellishment that pertains to the cantabile, it is very little used in declamatory singing.

    Style in Singing W. E. Haslam
British Dictionary definitions for portamento


noun (pl) -ti (-tɪ)
(music) a smooth slide from one note to another in which intervening notes are not separately discernible Compare glissando
Word Origin
C18: from Italian: a carrying, from Latin portāre to carry
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 of the Day

Nearby words for portamento

Word Value for portamento

Scrabble Words With Friends