[ah kuh-pel-uh; Italian ah kahp-pel-lah]
adverb, adjective Music.
without instrumental accompaniment.
in the style of church or chapel music.
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- a battery,
- a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,
- a bit,
- a bursary,
- a capella,
- a capriccio,
- a cell,
- a chain,
- a christmas carol,
- a chromosome
Origin of a cappella
1875–80; < Italian: in the manner of a chapel (choir)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
music without instrumental accompaniment
Word Origin for a cappella
Italian: literally, according to (the style of the) chapel
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
Choral singing performed without instruments. The expression means “in chapel style” in Italian. Centuries ago, religious music composed for use in chapels — which, unlike large churches, had no organs — was usually for voices only.
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.