[bree-oh; Italian bree-aw]


vigor; vivacity.

Origin of brio

1725–35; < Italian < Spanish brío energy, determination < Celtic *brīgos; compare Old Irish bríg (feminine) power, strength, force, Middle Welsh bri (masculine) honor, dignity, authority Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brio

Contemporary Examples of brio

  • The New Yorker critic Pauline Kael dismissed the film as "journalism presented with the brio of drama."

    The Daily Beast logo
    Goodfellas Turns 20

    Sean Macaulay

    September 21, 2010

Historical Examples of brio

  • Gozzi gave him brio and bonarietà , with cordiality and humor.


    William Graham Sumner

  • Con brio, to the horror of the monkeys who are settling for the night.

  • Tenderly and yet with a certain amount of brio the notes came dancing from the bow, and I listened, vaguely pleased.

  • Their eloquence is natural and contagious, and the peroration, delivered with brio, is often an artistic treat.

    Heroic Spain

    Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly

  • When the week was up Mat implored to be left behind with Angela, the maid, and Brio, a big poodle possessed of the devil.


    Louisa M. Alcott

British Dictionary definitions for brio



liveliness or vigour; spiritSee also con brio

Word Origin for brio

C19: from Italian, of Celtic origin
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 brio

"liveliness, vivacity," 1734, from Italian brio, literally "mettle, fire, life," perhaps a shortened derivative of Latin ebrius "drunk." Or via Provençal briu "vigor," from Celtic *brig-o- "strength," from PIE *gwere- "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). Probably entered English via musical instruction con brio.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper