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  1. Music. a more or less independent passage, at the end of a composition, introduced to bring it to a satisfactory close.
  2. Ballet. the concluding section of a ballet, especially the final part of a pas de deux.
  3. a concluding section or part, especially one of a conventional form and serving as a summation of preceding themes, motifs, etc., as in a work of literature or drama.
  4. anything that serves as a concluding part.
  5. Phonetics. the segment of a syllable following the nucleus, as the d-sound in good.Compare core1(def 14), onset(def 3).

Origin of coda

1745–55; < Italian < Latin cauda tail; cf. queue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of coda

British Dictionary definitions for coda


  1. music the final, sometimes inessential, part of a musical structure
  2. a concluding part of a literary work, esp a summary at the end of a novel of further developments in the lives of the characters

Word Origin for coda

C18: from Italian: tail, from Latin cauda
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 coda

"concluding passage in a musical composition," 1753, from Latin cauda "tail of an animal."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

coda in Culture


An ending to a piece of music, standing outside the formal structure of the piece. Coda is the Italian word for “tail.”

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.