One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Each of the groups into which the students of theological colleges in Rome are divided for accommodation and social activities.
2A group of musicians, composers, and intellectuals under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi (1534–1612) in late 16th-cent. Florence. Also: a similar Florentine group under the patronage of composer Jacopo Corsi (1561–1602).
3A small group of musicians or singers who perform together, typically specializing in chamber music. Chiefly in the names of such groups.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Keyssler's Travels. From Italian camerata group of people living together harmoniously or pursuing a common artistic or intellectual interest, late 16th-cent. Florentine group of musicians, composers, and intellectuals under the patronage of Count Giovanni de'Bardi, group of room-mates, small group of musicians or singers who perform together (1936 or earlier; usually with capital initial; frequently in the names of such groups, e.g. Camerata Milanese del Madrigale, Camerata di Cremona) from camera room, chamber + -ata, probably after Spanish camarada comrade in its collective sense ‘group of room-mates’.
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