[ op-er-uh, op-ruh ]
/ ˈɒp ər ə, ˈɒp rə /


an extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet.Compare comic opera, grand opera.
the form or branch of musical and dramatic art represented by such compositions.
the score or the words of such a composition.
a performance of one: to go to the opera.
(sometimes initial capital letter) an opera house or resident company: the Paris Opera.



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Question 1 of 10

Origin of opera

1635–45; < Italian: work, opera < Latin, plural of opus service, work, a work, opus

Definition for opera (2 of 3)

[ oh-per-uh, op-er-uh ]
/ ˈoʊ pər ə, ˈɒp ər ə /

noun Chiefly Music.

a plural of opus.

Definition for opera (3 of 3)

[ oh-puh s ]
/ ˈoʊ pəs /

noun, plural o·pus·es or especially for 1, 2, o·pe·ra [oh-per-uh, op-er-uh] /ˈoʊ pər ə, ˈɒp ər ə/.

a musical composition.
one of the compositions of a composer, usually numbered according to the order of publication.
a literary work or composition, as a book: Have you read her latest opus? Abbreviation: op.

Origin of opus

1695–1705; < Latin: work, labor, a work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for opera

British Dictionary definitions for opera (1 of 3)

/ (ˈɒpərə, ˈɒprə) /


an extended dramatic work in which music constitutes a dominating feature, either consisting of separate recitatives, arias, and choruses, or having a continuous musical structure
the branch of music or drama represented by such works
the score, libretto, etc, of an opera
a theatre where opera is performed

Word Origin for opera

C17: via Italian from Latin: work, a work, plural of opus work

British Dictionary definitions for opera (2 of 3)

/ (ˈɒpərə) /


a plural of opus

British Dictionary definitions for opera (3 of 3)

/ (ˈəʊpəs, ˈɔp-) /

noun plural opuses or opera (ˈɒpərə)

an artistic composition, esp a musical work
(often capital) (usually followed by a number) a musical composition by a particular composer, generally catalogued in order of publicationBeethoven's opus 61 is his violin concerto
Abbreviation: op.

Word Origin for opus

C18: from Latin: a work; compare Sanskrit apas work
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

Cultural definitions for opera


A musical drama that is totally or mostly sung. Aïda, Carmen, and Don Giovanni are some celebrated operas. A light, comic opera is often called an operetta.

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.