In music, the term adagio means played slowly. If a symphony has an adagio movement, it's a section that's played at a slow tempo.

Adagio can be an instruction on a piece of sheet music, directing the musician to play slowly, or it can be a description of a musical interlude. Sometimes a composition has the word adagio in its title, like Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." The origin of adagio is the Italian phrase ad agio, in which ad means "at" or "to," and agio means "leisure."

Definitions of adagio
  1. adverb
    “here you must play adagio
  2. adjective
    (of tempo) leisurely
    at a slow tempo
  3. noun
    (music) a composition played in adagio tempo (slowly and gracefully)
    “they played the adagio too quickly”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    composition, musical composition, opus, piece, piece of music
    a musical work that has been created
    musical passage, passage
    a short section of a musical composition
  4. noun
    a slow section of a pas de deux requiring great skill and strength by the dancers
    see moresee less
    type of:
    dance, dancing, saltation, terpsichore
    taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week