[sing-speel; German zing-shpeel]


a German opera, especially of the 18th century, using spoken dialogue and resembling ballad opera.

Origin of singspiel

1880–85; < German, equivalent to sing(en) to sing + Spiel play Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for singspiel

Historical Examples of singspiel

  • A Singspiel in three scenes, a free rendering of Comala with the original ending unchanged.

    Ossian in Germany

    Rudolf Tombo

  • Leipsic and Vienna made earnest attempts to support the German "singspiel" (song-play).

    How Music Developed

    W. J. Henderson

  • The old German singspiel form is preserved in the original score of "Der Freischtz," which contains spoken dialogue.

    How Music Developed

    W. J. Henderson

  • Did not Wagner himself recommend a budding bard to start his musical career with a Singspiel?

    The Opera

    R.A. Streatfeild

British Dictionary definitions for singspiel



a type of comic opera in German with spoken dialogue, popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries

Word Origin for Singspiel

literally: singing play
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 singspiel

1876, from German Singspiel, literally "a singing play," from singen "to sing" (see sing (v.)) + Spiel "a play" (see spiel). Kind of performance popular in Germany late 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper