a cappella

[ ah kuh-pel-uh; Italian ah kahp-pel-lah ]
/ ˌɑ kəˈpɛl ə; Italian ˌɑ kɑpˈpɛl lɑ /

adverb, adjective Music.

without instrumental accompaniment.
in the style of church or chapel music.

QUIZZES

This Word Of The Day Quiz Is Far From Thersitical
Have you mastered the meaning of phronesis? How about plethoric? Take the quiz on the words from the week of February 17 to 23 to find out.
Question 1 of 7
Lincolnesque

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. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for a cappella

a cappella
/ (ɑː kəˈpɛlə) /

adjective, adverb

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

Cultural definitions for a cappella

a cappella
[ (ah kuh-pel-uh) ]

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.