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scherzo

[skert-soh]
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noun, plural scher·zos, scher·zi [skert-see] /ˈskɛrt si/. Music.
  1. a movement or passage of light or playful character, especially as the second or third movement of a sonata or a symphony.
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Origin of scherzo

1850–55; < Italian: joke, derivative of scherzare to joke, of Langobardic orig.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scherzo

Historical Examples

  • So they plunged again into an Andante and Scherzo of Beethoven.

    Robert Elsmere

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • With the scherzo the two hirsute faces broke into broad smiles.

    Robert Elsmere

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • The scherzo evinces a taking jocosity with a serious interval.

  • The Scherzo is again of the Beethoven order in its contagious comicality.

  • The scherzo, too, was an artistic triumph for the orchestra.

    Musical Criticisms

    Arthur Johnstone


British Dictionary definitions for scherzo

scherzo

noun plural -zos or -zi (-tsiː)
  1. a brisk lively movement, developed from the minuet, with a contrastive middle section (a trio)See minuet (def. 2)
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Word Origin

Italian: joke, of Germanic origin; compare Middle High German scherzen to jest
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 scherzo

n.

1852, from Italian scherzo, literally "sport, joke," from scherzare "to jest or joke," from a Germanic source (cf. Middle High German scherzen "to jump merrily, enjoy oneself," German scherz "sport"), from PIE *(s)ker- (2) "leap, jump about." The lively second or third movement in a multi-movement work. Scherzando is the Italian gerund of scherzare.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper