[ op-er-uh, op-ruh ]
/ ˈɒp ər ə, ˈɒp rə /
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See synonyms for: opera / operas on Thesaurus.com


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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Origin of opera

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

Definition for opera (2 of 2)

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

noun Chiefly Music.

a plural of opus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for opera (1 of 2)

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

British Dictionary definitions for opera (2 of 2)

/ (ˈɒpərə) /


a plural of opus
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.
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