[pee-an-uh-fawrt, -fohrt; pee-an-uh-fawr-tee, -tey, -fohr-]


a piano.

Origin of pianoforte

1760–70; < Italian (gravecembalo col) piano e forte literally, (harpsicord with) soft and loud, equivalent to piano soft (see piano2) + forte loud (see forte2)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pianoforte

Historical Examples of pianoforte

  • As I left him he was mildly bemoaning his own lack of skill on the pianoforte.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Would it be asking too much of you to play the pianoforte accompaniment?

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Again we are indebted to Italy for the invention and name of the pianoforte.

    How the Piano Came to Be

    Ellye Howell Glover

  • Perhaps there would be no longer our pianoforte, our keyboard.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

  • You transform the instrument into something that is neither an orchestra nor a pianoforte.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for pianoforte



the full name for piano 1

Word Origin for pianoforte

C18: from Italian, originally (gravecembalo col) piano e forte (harpsichord with) soft and loud; see piano ², forte ²
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 pianoforte

1767, from Italian, from piano e forte "soft and loud," in full, gravicembalo col piano e forte "harpsichord with soft and loud" (c.1710), said to have been so named by inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua because the ability via dampers to vary the tone is one of the main changes from the harpsichord. Italian piano (adj.) ultimately is from Latin planus "flat, smooth, even," later "soft" (see plane (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pianoforte in Culture


[(pee-an-uh-fawrt, pee-an-uh-fawr-tay)]

The full name of the piano, the common musical instrument with a board of black and white keys, eighty-eight in all. The keys operate hammers that strike wires. Pianoforte is Italian for “soft-loud”; it received this name because its level of loudness depends on how hard the player strikes the keys.

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.