a cappella

[ah kuh-pel-uh; Italian ah kahp-pel-lah]

adverb, adjective Music.

without instrumental accompaniment.
in the style of church or chapel music.

Nearby words

  1. a battery,
  2. a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,
  3. a bit,
  4. a bursary,
  5. a capella,
  6. a capriccio,
  7. a cell,
  8. a chain,
  9. a christmas carol,
  10. a chromosome

Origin of a cappella

1875–80; < Italian: in the manner of a chapel (choir)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cappella

British Dictionary definitions for cappella

a cappella

adjective, adverb

music without instrumental accompaniment

Word Origin for a cappella

Italian: literally, according to (the style of the) chapel

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 cappella


see a cappella.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for cappella

a cappella

[(ah kuh-pel-uh)]

Choral singing performed without instruments. The expression means “in chapel style” in Italian. Centuries ago, religious music composed for use in chapels — which, unlike large churches, had no organs — was usually for voices only.

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.