1. Music In a very fast tempo, usually considered to be faster than allegro but slower than prestissimo. Used chiefly as a direction.
2. So suddenly that magic seems involved; right away.
n. pl. pres·tos
A passage or movement that is performed presto.
[Italian, from Late Latin praestus, quick, from Latin praestō, at hand; see ghes- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.