• synonyms


[uh-dah-joh, -zhee-oh; Italian ah-dah-jaw]
  1. Music. in a leisurely manner; slowly.
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  1. Music. slow.
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noun, plural a·da·gios.
  1. Music. an adagio movement or piece.
  2. Dance.
    1. a sequence of well-controlled, graceful movements performed as a display of skill.
    2. a duet by a man and a woman or mixed trio emphasizing difficult technical feats.
    3. (especially in ballet) a love-duet sequence in a pas de deux.
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Origin of adagio

1740–50; < Italian, for ad agio at ease; agio < Old Provençal ais or Old French aise (see ease)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adagio

Historical Examples

  • They skipped not in answer to the adagio movement in the May-day Symphony.

    Cruel Barbara Allen

    David Christie Murray

  • Sinking quickly into the slumber which always overtakes him during the adagio.

  • Tempo: Adagio lamentoso, with occasionally a rise to andante maesto.

  • The first movement and the Adagio, above all, are of incomparable beauty.

  • If I were a musician I would take it as the subject for the adagio in a Wesleyan symphony.

British Dictionary definitions for adagio


adjective, adverb
  1. (to be performed) slowly
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noun plural -gios
  1. a movement or piece to be performed slowly
  2. ballet a slow section of a pas de deux
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Word Origin

C18: Italian, from ad at + agio ease
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

Word Origin and History for adagio


c.1746, "slowly, leisurely," Italian, from ad agio, from ad "to, at" (see ad-) + agio "leisure," from Vulgar Latin adjacens, present participle of adjacere "to lie at, to lie near" (cf. adjacent). In musical sense of "a slow movement" (n.), first attested 1784.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

adagio in Culture


[(uh-dah-joh, uh-dah-zhee-oh)]

A very slow musical tempo.

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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.