Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday September 24, 2013
fermata \fer-MAH-tuh; It. fer-MAH-tah\
1. the sustaining of a note, chord, or rest for a duration longer than the indicated time value, with the length of the extension at the performer's discretion.
2. a symbol placed over a note, chord, or rest indicating a fermata.
There was a surreal, suspended moment, a fermata during which I heard a line of sitcom patter on a TV somewhere—Don't worry, sir, we'll have you doing the Lambeth Walk in no time—followed by that funhouse laughter, ha ha ha ha ha ha.
-- William Landay, Mission Flats, 2003
I had finally detached myself from that intoxicating fermata, thinking I should make some kind of an effort to pull myself together.
-- Katharine Weber, True Confessions, 2009
Fermata comes from the Italian word of the same spelling which means "stop" or "pause." It entered English in the late 1870s.