• synonyms


[zahr-zwey-luh, -zwee-; Spanish thahr-thwe-lah, sahr-swe-]
noun, plural zar·zue·las [zahr-zwey-luh z, -zwee-; Spanish thahr-thwe-lahs, sahr-swe-] /zɑrˈzweɪ ləz, -ˈzwi-; Spanish θɑrˈθwɛ lɑs, sɑrˈswɛ-/.
  1. a Spanish opera having spoken dialogue and often a satirically treated, topical theme.
Show More

Origin of zarzuela

1885–90; < Spanish, after La Zarzuela, palace near Madrid where first performance took place (1629)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zarzuela

Historical Examples

  • The days of the great writers of zarzuela have gone never to return.

    Rosinante to the Road Again

    John Dos Passos

  • Suddenly he heard a gay voice humming the refrain of a song from a zarzuela.

    Dona Perfecta

    B. Perez Galdos

  • The last-named type, the zarzuela, became particularly popular.

    A History of Spain

    Charles E. Chapman

  • The play was one of the kind known in Spain as a "Zarzuela," or farce.

  • The zarzuela, I should add, lasts about an hour, and for the most part is divided into three scenes.

British Dictionary definitions for zarzuela


  1. a type of Spanish vaudeville or operetta, usually satirical in nature
  2. a seafood stew
Show More

Word Origin

from Spanish, from La Zarzuela, name of the palace near Madrid where such vaudeville was first performed (1629)
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