• synonyms


  1. performed with a gliding effect by sliding one or more fingers rapidly over the keys of a piano or strings of a harp.
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noun, plural glis·san·di [gli-sahn-dee] /glɪˈsɑn di/.
  1. a glissando passage.
  2. (in string playing) a slide.
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Origin of glissando

1870–75; < French gliss(er) to slide + Italian -ando gerund ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for glissando

Historical Examples of glissando

  • A glissando of joy burned his eardrums, and he could not face that living splendor.


    James Causey

  • Sign,—same as a muted note, but written at the end of a glissando.

    The Tinguian

    Fay-Cooper Cole

  • It might be added, though, that the glissando is an effect which should not be overdone.

    Violin Mastery

    Frederick H. Martens

  • The glissando passages in sixths are impossible on modern instruments.

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work

    Stephen Samuel Stratton

  • The sudden diminuation of tone taken with a glissando gives an effect something like a short groan.

    The Tinguian

    Fay-Cooper Cole

British Dictionary definitions for glissando


noun plural -di (-diː) or -dos
  1. a rapidly executed series of notes on the harp or piano, each note of which is discretely audible
  2. a portamento, esp as executed on the violin, viola, etc
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Word Origin for glissando

C19: probably Italianized variant of glissade
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 glissando


1873, Italianized form of French glissant, present participle of glisser (see glissade).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper