AskDefine | Define opus

Dictionary Definition

opus n : a musical work that has been created; "the composition is written in four movements" [syn: musical composition, composition, piece, piece of music]

User Contributed Dictionary



Borrowed from etyl la opus.



  1. A work of music or set of works with a specified rank in an ordering of a composer's complete published works.
    Beethoven's opus eighteen quartets are considered by many to be the beginning of the Romantic era.
  2. A work, especially of art.
    The painter's last opus was a dedication to all things living, in a surprising contrast to all of his prior work.

Usage notes

The most common plural of opus in English is opuses. Some people use the Latin plural, opera. Opi is fairly common in the field of classical music, though mostly in informal contexts. The use of any of these three pluralizations may result in the speaker being corrected, though opi above all should be avoided in formal contexts. Outside of music, the word opus sees particularly frequent use in the expression magnum opus.



An s-stem from a root op-, cognate to Sanskrit sc=Deva. A Germanic *abaz- is reflected in Old Norse œfr "vehement", Middle High German uop "labour" (Modern German üben), Old High German uobo, Gothic aba "husbandman"; Middle English and dialectal English aver "heavy draught horse".


opus, operis n (Diminutive: opusculum)
  1. A work.
  2. A need.

Derived terms

opera, opero, operor, opusculum

Extensive Definition

Opus is a Latin word for work. The plural of opus is opera. It is used in many fields, notably in architecture and in music.

Other uses

See also

opus in Bulgarian: Опус
opus in Catalan: Opus
opus in Czech: Opus
opus in German: Opus
opus in Spanish: Opus
opus in French: Opus
opus in Italian: Opus
opus in Hebrew: אופוס
opus in Dutch: Opus
opus in Norwegian: Opus (andre betydninger)
opus in Polish: Opus
opus in Portuguese: Opus
opus in Slovak: Opus
opus in Finnish: Opus
Opus Computer Inc.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Nachtmusik, absolute music, adaptation, air varie, aleatory, aleatory music, arrangement, article, artifact, autograph, best seller, book, bound book, brainchild, chamber music, chamber orchestra, child, classic, coinage, coloring book, composition, computer printout, concoction, copy, creation, creature, crowning achievement, definitive work, descant, distillation, document, draft, edited version, effect, electronic music, end product, engrossment, essay, essence, etude, exercise, extract, fair copy, fiction, final draft, finished version, first draft, flimsy, folio, fruit, great work, handiwork, hardback, harmonization, holograph, incidental music, instrumental music, invention, issue, juvenile, juvenile book, letter, limp-cover book, literae scriptae, literary artefact, literary production, literature, lucubration, magnum opus, manufacture, manuscript, masterpiece, masterwork, matter, mintage, new mintage, nocturne, nonbook, nonfiction, notebook, novel, oeuvre, offspring, opera, opuscule, opusculum, orchestration, original, origination, outcome, outgrowth, paper, paperback, parchment, penscript, picture book, piece, piece of writing, play, playbook, pocket book, poem, prayer book, printed matter, printout, product, production, program music, psalmbook, psalter, publication, reading matter, recension, result, ricercar, score, screed, scrip, script, scrive, scroll, second draft, serial, sketchbook, soft-cover, sonata, sonatina, songbook, standard work, storybook, string orchestra, string quartet, study, the written word, theme and variations, title, tome, trade book, transcript, transcription, trio, typescript, variation, version, volume, work, writing
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