performed with a gliding effect by sliding one or more fingers rapidly over the keys of a piano or strings of a harp.

noun, plural glis·san·di [gli-sahn-dee] /glɪˈsɑn di/.

a glissando passage.
(in string playing) a slide.

Origin of glissando

1870–75; < French gliss(er) to slide + Italian -ando gerund ending Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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 abruptness with which the sound of the voice fades as it starts the glissando, leaves the impression of E♭ still sounding.

    The Tinguian

    Fay-Cooper Cole

British Dictionary definitions for glissando


noun plural -di (-diː) or -dos

a rapidly executed series of notes on the harp or piano, each note of which is discretely audible
a portamento, esp as executed on the violin, viola, etc

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper