noun, plural li·bret·tos, li·bret·ti [li-bret-ee] /lɪˈbrɛt i/.

the text or words of an opera or similar extended musical composition.
a book or booklet containing such a text.

Origin of libretto

1735–45; < Italian, diminutive of libro book < Latin liber; see -et Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for libretto

Contemporary Examples of libretto

Historical Examples of libretto

  • The music is lost, but the libretto survives, and that is enough to account for the collapse.


    Edward J. Dent

  • He also seized the opportunity of offering him a libretto for a new oratorio.


    Edward J. Dent

  • The summer was devoted to the composition of Belshazzar, for which Jennens had supplied the libretto.


    Edward J. Dent

  • In writing the libretto I had become acquainted with the actresses.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • I do not claim that our libretto was good poetry but it served as a vehicle for the tunes.

    My Reminiscences

    Rabindranath Tagore

British Dictionary definitions for libretto


noun plural -tos or -ti (-tiː)

a text written for and set to music in an opera, etc

Word Origin for libretto

C18: from Italian, diminutive of libro book
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 libretto

(plural libretti), 1742, from Italian libretto, diminutive of libro "book," from Latin liber (genitive libri), see library. Related: Librettist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper