Meaning of capriccio in English:


Pronunciation /kəˈprɪtʃɪəʊ/

See synonyms for capriccio on

nounplural noun capriccios

  • 1A lively piece of music, typically one that is short and free in form.

    ‘its four acts contain a number of capriccios and chorales’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A harpsichordist plays Bach's six-part capriccio in farewell to his brother, but her gloved fingers are drumming on sound-boxes.’
    • ‘He had entranced me with the mere feeling of his sound, so much to the point that everything around me was mist, and every impulse which would have owned me was torturously overshadowed by the power of that capriccio.’
  • 2A painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.

    ‘two capriccios by de la Joue which fitted 18th century frames’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An architectural capriccio produced in Rome in 1704 reveals the topographical foundations of his invention.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the paintings increasingly assume the character of architectural capriccios.’
    • ‘His Grozny, delicate as a doily, shows the ruins of the bombed Chechen capital dissolving in quavering sepia contours like an 18th-century capriccio.’
    • ‘Juvarra's Dresden capriccio seems to present the ship from the downstream end, as it shows the projecting oar platforms found in representations of antique galleys and which are present in the ancient travertine and tufa prow.’
    • ‘It is likely, therefore, that the idea behind this capriccio is the Pons Triumphalis rather than the Pons Aelius.’
    • ‘Alternatively, they can sketch or photograph several important objects in town and then make their own capriccios.’


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’.