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Brava vs. Bravo — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 12, 2024
"Brava" is for females, "bravo" for males, both meaning "well done" in Italian.
Brava vs. Bravo — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Brava and Bravo


Key Differences

"Brava" and "bravo" are Italian words used to express appreciation for a performance, often heard in theaters or after musical performances. "Brava" is directed towards female performers, signifying admiration or applause for their performance. "Bravo," on the other hand, is used when addressing male performers, serving the same purpose of commending an excellent performance.
The distinction between "brava" and "bravo" reflects the gender agreement in Italian grammar, where adjectives match the gender of the noun they are describing. This gender-specific praise extends to groups as well, where "brave" is used for all-female groups and "bravi" for all-male or mixed-gender groups.
While "brava" and "bravo" are rooted in Italian language and culture, their use has transcended linguistic boundaries, becoming common expressions of acclaim in many parts of the world, especially in the context of the performing arts. In settings outside of Italy or among non-Italian speakers, "bravo" is often used universally, regardless of the performer's gender.
Using "brava" or "bravo" appropriately not only shows appreciation for the performance but also respect for the cultural nuances of the Italian language. However, in global and less formal contexts, "bravo" is widely accepted as a general term of praise for performers of any gender.

Comparison Chart




To commend a female performer
To commend a male performer


Theatrical performances, musical recitals
Theatrical performances, musical recitals


Agreement with female gender in Italian
Agreement with male gender in Italian


"Brave" for all-female groups
"Bravi" for all-male or mixed-gender groups

Compare with Definitions


Applause for female performers.
Brava! echoed in the hall after the soprano's stunning performance.


Praise for male performers.
Bravo! roared the crowd as the pianist concluded his piece.


Reflects gender agreement in Italian.
The audience shouted Brava! acknowledging the actress's skill.


Common in various performance arts.
After the magician's trick, the audience spontaneously shouted Bravo!.


Used in formal and classical contexts.
At the ballet, patrons whispered Brava in appreciation of the lead dancer.


Matches male nouns in Italian.
Bravo! was heard after the young actor delivered his monologue.


Shows cultural respect and understanding.
The opera enthusiast impressed others by correctly exclaiming Brava!.


Universally understood expression of approval.
Even in the non-Italian opera house, Bravo! was a common accolade.


Extended to "brave" for groups of women.
Brave! the crowd cheered for the all-female choir.


Becomes "bravi" for male or mixed groups.
Bravi! was the resounding approval for the ensemble's performance.


Used to express approval of a woman, especially for a performance.


Used to express approval, especially of a performance.


A shout or cry of "brava."


A shout or cry of "bravo."


Alternative form of bravo, when spoken to a female performer.


A villain, especially a hired killer.


To express approval of by shouting "bravo."


To shout "bravo."


A hired soldier; an assassin; a desperado.


A shout of "bravo!"


(international standards) nodot=1 NATO/ICAO Phonetic Alphabet.}}


Used to express acclaim, especially to a performer.
Bravo, you have done a brilliant job!


To cheer or applaud, especially by saying bravo!


A daring villain; a bandit; one who sets law at defiance; a professional assassin or murderer.
Safe from detection, seize the unwary prey.And stab, like bravoes, all who come this way.


Well done! excellent! an exclamation expressive of applause.


A murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a treacherous surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed;
His assassins were hunted down like animals
Assassinators of kings and emperors


A cry of approval as from an audience at the end of great performance


Applaud with shouts of `bravo' or `brava'

Common Curiosities

What is the meaning of "brava"?

"Brava" is an Italian exclamation used to express admiration for a female performer's excellent performance.

Can "bravo" be used for female performers?

Traditionally, "bravo" is for males and "brava" for females, but "bravo" is often used universally in non-Italian speaking contexts.

Is it important to use "brava" and "bravo" correctly?

In Italian culture and among aficionados of the performing arts, using the correct form shows respect for the performers and understanding of cultural nuances.

Is "bravo" used only in Italian opera houses?

While rooted in Italian tradition, the use of "bravo" has become widespread in theaters and performance halls worldwide.

What's the plural form of "bravo" for a mixed-gender group?

The plural form for a mixed-gender group is "bravi."

How is "brava" pronounced?

"Brava" is pronounced as [brah-vah], with emphasis on the first syllable.

Can "brava" and "bravo" be used outside of performing arts?

Yes, they can be used in any context to express admiration for someone's performance or achievement, regardless of the field.

Do language purists insist on gender-specific usage?

Language purists may prefer the traditional, gender-specific usage, but many accept "bravo" as a universal term of praise.

When should you use "bravo"?

"Bravo" is used to commend a male performer for an outstanding performance.

Has the usage of "brava" and "bravo" evolved over time?

Yes, especially "bravo," which has been adopted globally as a general term of acclaim, sometimes irrespective of gender.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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