[ op-er-uh, op-ruh ]
See synonyms for: operaoperas on Thesaurus.com

  1. 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.

  2. the form or branch of musical and dramatic art represented by such compositions.

  1. the score or the words of such a composition.

  2. a performance of one: to go to the opera.

  3. (sometimes initial capital letter) an opera house or resident company: the Paris Opera.

Origin of opera

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

Words Nearby opera

Other definitions for opera (2 of 2)

[ oh-per-uh, op-er-uh ]

nounChiefly Music.
  1. a plural of opus.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use opera in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for opera (1 of 2)


/ (ˈɒpərə, ˈɒprə) /

  1. 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

  2. the branch of music or drama represented by such works

  1. the score, libretto, etc, of an opera

  2. a theatre where opera is performed

Origin of opera

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

British Dictionary definitions for opera (2 of 2)


/ (ˈɒpərə) /

  1. 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.