[pee-uh-nis-uh-moh; Italian pyah-nees-see-maw]Music.


very soft.


very softly.

noun, plural pi·a·nis·si·mos.

a passage or movement played in this way.

Origin of pianissimo

1715–25; < Italian, superlative of piano piano2
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Historical Examples of pianissimo

British Dictionary definitions for pianissimo


adjective, adverb

music (to be performed) very quietlySymbol: pp

Word Origin for pianissimo

C18: from Italian, superlative of piano soft
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 pianissimo

1724, from Italian pianissimo "very softly," from Latin pianissimus, superlative of pianus (see piano).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pianissimo in Culture



A musical direction meaning “to be performed very softly”; the opposite of fortissimo.

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.