Definition of ritardando in English:

ritardando

adjective & adverb

Music
  • (especially as a direction) with a gradual decrease of tempo; rallentando.

    • ‘No deviations from this basic pulse are indicated - no accelerando or ritardando - but the avoidance of repeated rhythmic patterns prevents the emergence of any phrase-structure comparable to Schumann's.’
    • ‘When the trumpets entered, their ascending phrase was ritardando to a degree, allowing a gradual and more dramatic crescendo too.’

noun

Music
  • A gradual decrease in tempo; a rallentando.

    • ‘At that time, detailed research into historical performance practice was still limited, which accounts for the massive final ritardandi and other features which would now be questioned.’
    • ‘He knew exactly where the accelerations and ritardandos should be, and when the lilt was most important.’
    • ‘It is sometimes a bit too easy and didactic to consistently underline such things as radical modulations or harmonic shifts, by means of accentuation, rhetorical pauses, ritardandos, etc.’
    • ‘Bach's fermatas and the symmetrical variation groupings they produce, have profound implications with respect to tempo relationships, as well as the amount of pause and ritardandos taken between each variation.’

Origin

Italian.

Pronunciation

ritardando

/ˌrɪtɑːˈdandəʊ/