[ fer-mah-tuh; Italian fer-mah-tah ]
/ fɛrˈmɑ tə; Italian fɛrˈmɑ tɑ /

noun, plural fer·ma·tas, Italian fer·ma·te [fer-mah-te] /fɛrˈmɑ tɛ/. Music.

the sustaining of a note, chord, or rest for a duration longer than the indicated time value, with the length of the extension at the performer's discretion.
a symbol placed over a note, chord, or rest indicating a fermata.

Origin of fermata

1875–80; < Italian: stop, pause, noun use of feminine of past participle of fermare to stop < Latin firmāre to make firm. See firm1, -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fermata

British Dictionary definitions for fermata


/ (fəˈmɑːtə) /

noun plural -tas or -te (-tɪ)

music another word for pause (def. 5)

Word Origin for fermata

from Italian, from fermare to stop, from Latin firmāre to establish; see firm 1
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 fermata



1876, musical term, Italian, literally "stop, pause," from fermare "to fasten, to stop," from fermo "strong, fastened," from Latin firmus (see firm (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper