SKIP TO CONTENT

staccato

Staccato is a musical term for notes that are played quickly and sharply. It can also refer to anything characterized by similar beats, such as the staccato clacking of a woman's high heels on a tile floor.

There is nothing quite so pleasant as lying in bed on a Saturday morning listening to the staccato tapping of rain on the roof, knowing that everything you had planned will now be canceled. Other staccato sounds are not so pleasant — like your neighbor learning to play the drums or a jack hammer blaring right outside your window.

Definitions of staccato
  1. adverb
    separating the notes; in music
    “play this staccato, please”
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    legato
    connecting the notes; in music
  2. adjective
    (music) marked by or composed of disconnected parts or sounds; cut short crisply
    staccato applause”
    “a staccato command”
    staccato notes”
    synonyms: disconnected
    abrupt, disconnected
    marked by sudden changes in subject and sharp transitions
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    legato, smooth
    (music) without breaks between notes; smooth and connected
  3. noun
    a series of sharp, distinct sounds
    see moresee less
    type of:
    noise
    sound of any kind (especially unintelligible or dissonant sound)
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’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.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week