[ahr-ee-uh, air-ee-uh]


an air or melody.
an elaborate melody sung solo with accompaniment, as in an opera or oratorio.

Origin of aria

From Italian, dating back to 1735–45; see origin at air1
Can be confusedarea aria


[ahr-ee-uh, uh-rahy-uh]

noun Classical Mythology.

a nymph, the mother of Miletus, by Apollo.


a suffix occurring in scientific terms of Latin origin, especially in names of biological genera and groups: filaria.

Origin of -aria

< Latin: feminine singular or neuter plural of -ārius -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aria

hymn, descant, song

Examples from the Web for aria

Contemporary Examples of aria

Historical Examples of aria

  • But when we got there no springs were to be seen, and I'Aria said he must have mistaken the place.

    Across Patagonia

    Lady Florence Dixie

  • We soon 189 got near to the camp, and shouted to I'Aria to bring us some bullets.

    Across Patagonia

    Lady Florence Dixie

  • While studying an application he sang, mezza voce, the aria from Pagliacci.

    Crimes of Charity

    Konrad Bercovici

  • Here are the words—which are repeated fourteen times in the course of the aria.


    Lawton Mackall

  • Suddenly she stopped in the middle of her aria and burst into a peal of laughter.

British Dictionary definitions for aria



an elaborate accompanied song for solo voice from a cantata, opera, or oratorioSee also da capo

Word Origin for aria

C18: from Italian: tune, air
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 aria

from Italian aria, literally "air" (see air (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aria in Culture



A piece of music for one voice (or occasionally two voices) in an opera, oratorio, or cantata. In contrast with recitative singing, arias are melodious; in contrast with ordinary songs, arias are usually elaborate.


Some composers, such as Richard Wagner, have felt that arias interrupt the action of opera too much and hence have written operas without them.
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.