[ pee-an-oh, pyan-oh ]
/ piˈæn oʊ, ˈpyæn oʊ /

noun, plural pi·an·os.

a musical instrument in which felt-covered hammers, operated from a keyboard, strike the metal strings.

Origin of piano

First recorded in 1795–1805; short for pianoforte

Definition for piano (2 of 2)

[ pee-ah-noh; Italian pyah-naw ]
/ piˈɑ noʊ; Italian ˈpyɑ nɔ /


soft; subdued.


softly. Abbreviation: p, p.

Origin of piano

1675–85; < Italian: soft, low (of sounds), plain, flat < Latin plānus plain1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piano

British Dictionary definitions for piano (1 of 3)

/ (pɪˈænəʊ) /

noun plural -anos

a musical stringed instrument resembling a harp set in a vertical or horizontal frame, played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike the strings and produce audible vibrationsSee also grand piano, upright piano

Word Origin for piano

C19: short for pianoforte

British Dictionary definitions for piano (2 of 3)

/ (ˈpjɑːnəʊ) /

adjective, adverb

music (to be performed) softlySymbol: p

Word Origin for piano

C17: from Italian, from Latin plānus flat; see plain 1

British Dictionary definitions for piano (3 of 3)

/ (Italian pjˈɑno) /


Renzo. born 1937, Italian architect; buildings include the Pompidou Centre, Paris (1977; with Richard Rogers), the Potsdamer Platz redevelopment, Berlin (1998), and The Shard, London (2012)
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

Culture definitions for piano


A musical direction meaning “to be performed softly”; the opposite of forte. As the name of a musical instrument, it is short for pianoforte.

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.