- quickly, rapidly, or immediately.
- at a rapid tempo (used as a musical direction).
- quick or rapid.
- executed at a rapid tempo (used as a musical direction).
- Music. a movement or piece in quick tempo.
Origin of presto
Examples from the Web for presto
And presto: polio returned—first in Nigeria then across Africa and into Asia, following an established migration pattern.The CIA's Dangerous Vaccine Stunt
July 13, 2011
Toss a Cinderella- or Stockholm Syndrome-type victim into the mix and presto!Wives Gone Wild!
February 26, 2009
Suddenly a little whiff of air enters the pile, when, presto!
A presto ingeniously represents the quick movements of the stag.The Standard Oratorios
George P. Upton
A slight motion of one of my feet at this juncture, however, and, presto!My Studio Neighbors
William Hamilton Gibson
Then my success is certain; I think you'll say so when I draw the curtain, And, presto!The English Spy
Then presto—the sun moves round, and my window is transformed!The Story of Glass
Sara Ware Bassett
- music to be played very fast
- immediately, suddenly, or at once (esp in the phrase hey presto)
- music a movement or passage directed to be played very quickly
Word Origin and History for presto
1590s, "quickly," used by conjurers, etc., from Italian presto "quick, quickly" in conjuror's patter, from Latin praestus "ready," praesto (adv.) "ready, available," from prae "before" (see pre-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Cf. Latin praesto esse "to be at hand, be ready," source of French prêt "ready." As a musical direction, it is a separate borrowing from Italian, first recorded 1683.