• synonyms


[pee-uh-nis-uh-moh; Italian pyah-nees-see-maw]Music.
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  1. very soft.
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  1. very softly.
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noun, plural pi·a·nis·si·mos.
  1. a passage or movement played in this way.
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Origin of pianissimo

1715–25; < Italian, superlative of piano piano2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pianissimo

emollient, pianissimo, demulcent, lenitive, crumbly, ductile, flaccid, friable, lenient, malleable, pliable, assuasive, emulsive, mitigatory, mollescent

Examples from the Web for pianissimo

Historical Examples of pianissimo

  • The pianissimo of choruses and orchestras is seldom soft enough.

    Essentials in Conducting

    Karl Wilson Gehrkens

  • His speciality was extreme delicacy, and his pianissimo extraordinary.

  • At that part there are two pauses in quick succession, the second of which, is pianissimo.

  • It was very rapid, very staccato, and pianissimo all the way through.

  • The whole piece was intended to be played staccato and pianissimo.

    Story-Lives of Great Musicians

    Francis Jameson Rowbotham

British Dictionary definitions for pianissimo


adjective, adverb
  1. music (to be performed) very quietlySymbol: pp
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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pianissimo in Culture



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

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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.