from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A lively movement, commonly in 3/4 time, introduced as a replacement for a minuet in pieces with multiple movements.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A piece of music or a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony; especially, a piece of music played in a playful manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A playful, humorous movement, commonly in 3-4 measure, which often takes the place of the old minuet and trio in a sonata or a symphony.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a passage or movement of a light or playful character; specifically, one of the usual movements of a sonata or symphony, following the slow movement, and taking the place of the older minuet, and, like it, usually combined with a trio. The scherzo was first established in its place by Beethoven.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fast movement (usually in triple time)


Italian, joke, scherzo, from Old Italian scherzare, to joke, perhaps of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian scherzo "joke, play", from scherzare "to joke, jest" from Old Italian scherzare, from Lombardic *skerzan "to jump merrily, enjoy oneself, jest" from Proto-Germanic *skirtanan (“to hop, jump”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kerǝd- (“to dance, jump”). Akin to Middle High German scherzen "to frolic, jump merrily, hop up and down" (German scherzen "to joke"; Scherz "joke, sport"), Norwegian skjerta "to joke". (Wiktionary)



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  • Italian - joke, prank, tomfoolery.

    September 16, 2009