Definition of capriccio in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈprēCHēˌō/

noun (plural capriccios)

1A lively piece of music, typically one that is short and free in form.
Example sentences
  • After 1783 he turned to less weighty genres aimed at the amateur solo player, producing keyboard sonatas, sonatinas, and capriccios, programme works, and towards the end of his life some contrapuntal teaching pieces.
  • My inflamed eyes broadened as with a wise smirk and an abrupt halt, the master himself, for somehow I was certain, devolved his solemn requiem into the lively capriccio it had been born as.
  • The capriccio he selected to play for us bore a striking similarity to a cat with its bum on fire having a seizure on the piano keyboard - a painful experience for all concerned.
1.1A painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.
Example sentences
  • Another of the Chatsworth capriccios introduces a new theme, a central feature embedded in an arcaded superstructure extending the length of the bridge.
  • In a defensive capriccio of the period, the artist presents himself as a Venetian nobleman in a classical courtyard reminiscent of Sansovino's old library in Venice.
  • A strong presumption of topographical reference can be posited for this bridge, given that a capriccio in the same set is based on the Tiber Island.


Early 17th century (denoting a sudden change of mind): from Italian, literally 'head with the hair standing on end', hence 'horror', later 'a sudden start' (influenced by capra 'goat', associated with frisky movement), from capo 'head' + riccio 'hedgehog'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ca·pric·ci·o

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