Spiccato is a technique for bowed string instruments where the bow bounces lightly on the string.
The word spiccato comes from an Italian verb which means "to separate". Before the mid-1700s, the terms spiccato and staccato where used interchangeably to mean notes that where separated. After the mid-1700s, the spiccato technique of bouncing the bow on the strings developed, and has been used since, especially in the 20th century.
Holding the bow a short distance above the string, the player bounces the bow, creating very short notes. Using spiccato technique allows for a passage of distinct notes that are clearly separate.