[ stuh-kah-toh ]
/ stəˈkɑ toʊ /


shortened and detached when played or sung: staccato notes.
characterized by performance in which the notes are abruptly disconnected: a staccato style of playing.Compare legato.
composed of or characterized by abruptly disconnected elements; disjointed: rapid-fire, staccato speech.


in a staccato manner.

noun, plural stac·ca·tos, stac·ca·ti [stuh-kah-tee] /stəˈkɑ ti/.

performance in a staccato manner.
a staccato passage.

Origin of staccato

1715–25; < Italian: disconnected, past participle of staccare (derivative of stacca pole < Gothic, but taken as a variant of distaccare to detach) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for staccato

British Dictionary definitions for staccato


/ (stəˈkɑːtəʊ) /


music (of notes) short, clipped, and separate
characterized by short abrupt sounds, as in speecha staccato command


(esp used as a musical direction) in a staccato manner

Word Origin for staccato

C18: from Italian, from staccare to detach, shortened from distaccare
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

Culture definitions for staccato


[ (stuh-kah-toh) ]

A direction in music meaning that the notes should be performed in an abrupt, sharp, clear-cut manner.


The term staccato has been applied generally to things that occur in rapid bursts, such as gunfire.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.