sotto voce

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See also: sottovoce



Borrowed from Italian sottovoce (literally under [the] voice).


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sotto voce (not comparable)

  1. (of speech, of a voice, etc) In soft tones; quiet.
    • 1913, D. H. Lawrence, chapter 5, in Sons and Lovers:
      Then a man called for her, and began to make coarse jokes. But Mr. Pappleworth nodded his head in the direction of the boy, and the talk went on sotto voce.
    • 1985, Gary Russell, Divided Loyalties, page 38:
      ‘Hello?’ she shouted, but still her voice came out barely louder than a sotto voce whisper.
    • 2018, Nicole Seymour, Bad Environmentalism, page 89:
      The Boyz also regularly speak in sotto voce, mimicking the grave, hushed tones often adopted by nature/wildlife programming hosts.
  2. (music) Soft, instruments or voice.
    Synonym: (informal) sotto


sotto voce (not comparable)

  1. (of speech, of a voice, etc) Quietly.
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre:
      "I am not your dear; I cannot lie down. Send me to school soon, Mrs. Reed, for I hate to live here." I will indeed send her to school soon," murmured Mrs. Reed sotto voce; and gathering up her work, she abruptly quitted the apartment.
  2. (music) Sung or played softly, instruments or voice.
    Synonym: (informal) sotto



sotto voce (plural sotto voci)

  1. (music) A direction in a score that a passage in a piece should be played softly, or sung in a low voice, when applied to vocal music.



sotto voce

  1. Alternative form of sottovoce