bel canto

[bel kan-toh, -kahn-; Italian bel kahn-taw]

noun Music.

a smooth, cantabile style of singing.

Origin of bel canto

1890–95; < Italian: literally, fine singing, equivalent to bel (cognate with beau) + canto (see canto) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bel canto

bel canto


  1. a style of singing characterized by beauty of tone rather than dramatic power
  2. (as modifier)a bel canto aria

Word Origin for bel canto

C19: Italian, literally: beautiful singing
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 bel canto

1894, Italian, literally "fine song."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper