• synonyms


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.
Show More

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 of scherzo

  • 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


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)
Show More

Word Origin for scherzo

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


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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper