of, relating to, or producing music: a musical instrument.
of the nature of or resembling music; melodious; harmonious.
fond of or skilled in music.
set to or accompanied by music: a musical entertainment.


Also called musical comedy. a play or motion picture in which the story line is interspersed with or developed by songs, dances, and the like.

Origin of musical

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Medieval Latin word mūsicālis. See music, -al1
Related formsmu·si·cal·ly, adverbmu·si·cal·i·ty, mu·si·cal·ness, nounan·ti·mu·si·cal, adjectivean·ti·mu·si·cal·ly, adverban·ti·mu·si·cal·ness, nounnon·mu·si·cal, adjectivenon·mu·si·cal·ly, adverbnon·mu·si·cal·ness, nounpre·mu·si·cal, adjectivepre·mu·si·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-mu·si·cal, adjectivequa·si-mu·si·cal·ly, adverbun·mu·si·cal·i·ty, noun
Can be confusedmusical musicale

Synonyms for musical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for musical

Contemporary Examples of musical

Historical Examples of musical

  • To confess the strange truth, he never told me you were musical.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • When Vavasor was gone she turned with greater diligence to her musical studies.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Far away through the forest might be heard its musical clangor and swell.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • My voice was a marvel even to myself, so rich and full and musical!

  • It was Mattheson, by his own account, who introduced Handel to the musical life of Hamburg.


    Edward J. Dent

British Dictionary definitions for musical



of, relating to, or used in musica musical instrument
harmonious; melodiousmusical laughter
talented in or fond of music
involving or set to musica musical evening


short for musical comedy
Derived Formsmusically, adverbmusicalness or musicality, noun
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 musical

early 15c., "pertaining to music; tuneful, harmonious; adept at making music," from Middle French musical (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin musicalis, from Latin musica (see music). Musical box is from 1829. Children's game musical chairs is attested from 1877, hence use of musical as a modifier meaning "changing rapidly from one to another possessor" (1924). Related: Musically.


"theatrical piece in which music figures prominently," 1937, from musical (adj.) in musical play. Earlier as a noun it meant "musical instrument" (c.1500), "musical performance" (1570s); "musical party" (1823, a sense now in musicale).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

musical in Culture


A play or film that contains musical numbers. Musicals can be comedic (see musical comedy) or serious in tone, such as Porgy and Bess.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.