[ spi-kah-toh; Italian speek-kah-taw ]
/ spɪˈkɑ toʊ; Italian spikˈkɑ tɔ /


(of violin music) performed with short, abrupt, rebounding motions of the bow.

Origin of spiccato

1840–50; < Italian, equivalent to spicc- (stem of spiccare to detach) + -ato < Latin -ātus -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spiccato

  • Spiccato is generally held to be more difficult than staccato; yet I myself find it easier.

    Violin Mastery|Frederick H. Martens
  • The martellato, a nuance of spiccato, should be played with a firm bowing at the point.

    Violin Mastery|Frederick H. Martens

British Dictionary definitions for spiccato

/ (spɪˈkɑːtəʊ) music /


a style of playing a bowed stringed instrument in which the bow bounces lightly off the strings

adjective, adverb

to be played in this manner

Word Origin for spiccato

Italian: detached, from spiccare to make distinct
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