[ luh-gah-toh; Italian le-gah-taw ]
/ ləˈgɑ toʊ; Italian lɛˈgɑ tɔ /

adjective, adverb Music.

smooth and connected; without breaks between the successive tones.
Compare staccato.

Origin of legato

1805–15; < Italian, past participle of legare < Latin ligāre to bind
Related formsnon·le·ga·to, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for legato

British Dictionary definitions for legato


/ (lɪˈɡɑːtəʊ) music /

adjective, adverb

to be performed smoothly and connectedly

noun plural -tos

  1. a style of playing in which no perceptible gaps are left between notes
  2. (as modifier)a legato passage

Word Origin for legato

C19: from Italian, literally: bound
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 legato


1811, from Italian legato, literally "bound," past participle of legare, from Latin ligare (see ligament). Of music to be played smoothly, without intervals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper