[in-ter-met-soh, -med-zoh]

noun, plural in·ter·mez·zos, in·ter·mez·zi [in-ter-met-see, -med-zee] /ˌɪn tərˈmɛt si, -ˈmɛd zi/,

a short dramatic, musical, or other entertainment of light character, introduced between the acts of a drama or opera.
a short musical composition between main divisions of an extended musical work.
a short, independent musical composition.

Origin of intermezzo

1805–15; < Italian < Late Latin intermedium; see intermediary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intermezzo

Historical Examples of intermezzo

  • So instead of sherry with the soup, they ordered the intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana."

    As Seen By Me

    Lilian Bell

  • This intermezzo is not long, and we are again enlivened by the scene on the stage.

    Stars of the Opera

    Mabel Wagnalls

  • This note sounds much more clearly—one might say defiantly—through the last two acts of "Intermezzo."

  • She swung round on her music-stool and began the intermezzo again, getting up as her aunt entered with Edith.


    Edward Frederic Benson

  • The author of the burlesque thought it would be a great joke to have the intermezzo played on a hand-organ.

British Dictionary definitions for intermezzo


noun plural -zos or -zi (-tsiː)

a short piece of instrumental music composed for performance between the acts or scenes of an opera, drama, etc
an instrumental piece either inserted between two longer movements in an extended composition or intended for independent performance
another name for interlude (def. 3)

Word Origin for intermezzo

C19: from Italian, from Late Latin intermedium interval; see intermediate
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 intermezzo

1834, from Italian intermezzo "short dramatic performance between the acts of a play or opera," literally "that which is between," from Latin intermedius (see intermediate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper