[ kuh n-tah-tuh ]
/ kənˈtɑ tə /


a choral composition, either sacred and resembling a short oratorio or secular, as a lyric drama set to music but not to be acted.
a metrical narrative set to recitative or alternate recitative and air, usually for a single voice accompanied by one or more instruments.

Nearby words

  1. cantala,
  2. cantalever,
  3. cantaloupe,
  4. cantankerous,
  5. cantar,
  6. cantatrice,
  7. canteen,
  8. canteen culture,
  9. canteloube,
  10. canter

Origin of cantata

1715–25; < Italian, equivalent to cant(are) to sing (see cant1) + -ata -ate1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cantata

British Dictionary definitions for cantata


/ (kænˈtɑːtə) /


a musical setting of a text, esp a religious text, consisting of arias, duets, and choruses interspersed with recitatives

Word Origin for cantata

C18: from Italian, from cantare to sing, from Latin

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 cantata



1724, from Italian cantata, literally "that which is sung," past participle of cantare "to sing" (see chant (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for cantata


[ (kuhn-tah-tuh) ]

A musical composition for voice and instruments and including choruses, solos, and recitatives.

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.