Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spoken in sotto voce

In a short story I was reading recently, one of the characters spoke sotto voce. This was not a term I was familiar with, so I decided to do some digging.

Sotto voce is an Italian phrase that has been adopted, in its original form, into English conversation. Literally meaning "under the voice," the phrase is used to describe a conversation or utterance that is dramatically quiet, and usually private. In musical direction, it can mean a section of a composition played in hushed tones.
The phrase originated in 1737, but is still used (although rarely) in modern times. A specialty food shop in Seattle, WA takes the phrase as it's namesake. Sotto Voce sells a variety of infused olive oils The name is a poetic way of saying, the added flavor is there, but you can just barely taste it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I'm writing a novel and knew it was the thought I wanted, but if 1737 was the first usage, I'll have to find the right alternative.


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