Definition of fortissimo in English:


adverb & adjective

  • (especially as a direction) very loud or loudly.

    ‘the movement ends with a fortissimo coda’
    • ‘The D minor fortissimo outburst at letter C always reminds me of Moses on the Mount admonishing Aaron and the sinners below.’
    • ‘It began rather tamely, I am afraid, and started to fall to pieces after the first fortissimo downward scale.’
    • ‘The following sections deal with four issues particularly relevant to small-handed players: legato playing; fortissimo playing; playing octaves, large chords, and arpeggios; and fingering.’
    • ‘Polk's coloration, her contrasts between pianissimo and fortissimo moments, are similar to Sviatoslav Richter's rendition of César Franck's Piano Quintet.’
    • ‘Mendelssohn uses the 6/8 time to introduce a theme which is not Scottish at all and finishes fortissimo.’
    noisy, blaring, booming, deafening, roaring, thunderous, thundering, tumultuous, clamorous, blasting, head-splitting, ear-splitting, ear-piercing, piercing
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  • A passage performed or marked to be performed very loudly.

    ‘Tchaikovsky's fortissimos are given plenty of weight in the bass’
    • ‘Very sensitive was his Verschwiegene Nachtigall and Ein Traum was truly a dream of a performance, with a good fortissimo that was only topped by the immense applause that accompanied the end of the first quarter.’
    • ‘It does not like to be beaten up for a fortissimo and if you do this, it will get back at you by giving you a rather tinny sound.’
    • ‘Albeit a short piece of music, the build-up into the final fortissimo in the string section was magnificent, and the audience certainly showed their appreciation.’
    • ‘The sudden fortissimo in the middle section is probably Janacek storming off in another of his enormous huffs.’
    • ‘His touch could be warm, deep, full, and broad in the fortes, and not hard even in the fortissimos; and his pianos, always of carrying power, could be as round and transparent as a dewdrop.’


Italian, from Latin fortissimus very strong.