[pawr-tuh-men-toh, pohr-; Italian pawr-tah-men-taw]

noun, plural por·ta·men·ti [pawr-tuh-men-tee, pohr-; Italian pawr-tah-men-tee] /ˌpɔr təˈmɛn ti, ˌpoʊr-; Italian ˌpɔr tɑˈmɛn ti/, por·ta·men·tos. Music.

a passing or gliding from one pitch or tone to another with a smooth progression.

Origin of portamento

1765–75; < Italian: fingering, literally, a bearing, carrying. See port5, -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for portamento

Historical Examples of portamento

  • It is even likely that she will improve her knowledge of portamento while she is washing dishes.

    The Merry-Go-Round

    Carl Van Vechten

  • Does she overdo the use of portamento, messa di voce, and such devices?

    The Merry-Go-Round

    Carl Van Vechten

  • It should be practiced very slowly at first, and with portamento.

  • The portamento—gliding from one note to another—is also a lovely effect.

    Violin Mastery

    Frederick H. Martens

  • At one point the boys took a portamento—a grace which very few choirmasters would attempt with boys.

    The Boy's Voice

    J. Spencer Curwen

British Dictionary definitions for portamento


noun plural -ti (-tɪ)

music a smooth slide from one note to another in which intervening notes are not separately discernibleCompare glissando

Word Origin for portamento

C18: from Italian: a carrying, from Latin portāre to carry
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