mordent

or mor·dant

[mawr-dnt]
noun Music.
  1. a melodic embellishment consisting of a rapid alternation of a principal tone with the tone a half or a whole step below it, called single or short when the auxiliary tone occurs once and double or long when this occurs twice or more.
  2. inverted mordent.

Origin of mordent

1800–10; < German < Italian mordente biting < Latin mordent-, stem of mordēns, present participle of mordēre to bite; see -ent
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British Dictionary definitions for mordent

mordent

noun
  1. music a melodic ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of a note with a note one degree lower than itAlso called: lower mordent

Word Origin for mordent

C19: from German, from Italian mordente, from mordere to bite
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