[mad-ri-guh l]
See more synonyms for madrigal on
  1. a secular part song without instrumental accompaniment, usually for four to six voices, making abundant use of contrapuntal imitation, popular especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  2. a lyric poem suitable for being set to music, usually short and often of amatory character, especially fashionable in the 16th century and later, in Italy, France, England, etc.
  3. any part song.

Origin of madrigal

1580–90; < Italian madrigale < Medieval Latin mātricāle something simple, noun use of neuter of Late Latin mātricālis literally, of the womb. See matrix, -al1
Related formsmad·ri·gal·esque, adjectivemad·ri·gal·i·an [mad-ruh-gal-ee-uh n, -gal-yuh n, -gey-lee-uh n] /ˌmæd rəˈgæl i ən, -ˈgæl yən, -ˈgeɪ li ən/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for madrigal

song, chorus, strain, lay, ditty, ballad, madrigal, canticle, Noel, canzonet

Examples from the Web for madrigal

Contemporary Examples of madrigal

Historical Examples of madrigal

British Dictionary definitions for madrigal


  1. music a type of 16th- or 17th-century part song for unaccompanied voices with an amatory or pastoral textCompare glee (def. 2)
  2. a 14th-century Italian song, related to a pastoral stanzaic verse form
Derived Formsmadrigalesque, adjectivemadrigalian (ˌmædrɪˈɡælɪən, -ˈɡeɪ-), adjectivemadrigalist, noun

Word Origin for madrigal

C16: from Italian, from Medieval Latin mātricāle primitive, apparently from Latin mātrīcālis of the womb, from matrīx womb
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 madrigal

"short love poem," also "part-song for three or more voices," 1580s, from Italian madrigale, probably from Venetian dialect madregal "simple, ingenuous," from Late Latin matricalis "invented, original," literally "of or from the womb," from matrix (genitive matricis) "womb" (see matrix).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper