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[boo r-dn, bawr-, bohr-] /ˈbʊər dn, ˈbɔr-, ˈboʊr-/
noun, Music.
  1. the drone pipe of a bagpipe.
  2. the drone string of a stringed instrument.
a low-pitched tone; bass.
a pipe organ stop of very low pitch.
the bell in a carillon having the lowest pitch.
Origin of bourdon
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French; see burden2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bourdon
Historical Examples
  • The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.

  • bourdon, arm all batteries and lock onto that Mancji ship,” I ordered.

    Greylorn John Keith Laumer
  • The dress of le bourdon was well adapted to his pursuits and life.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • "Let me know the truth, at once, Chippewa," exclaimed le bourdon.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • Waubkenewh grasped the hand of le bourdon, and squeezed it firmly.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • The moon had now set, and the night was favorable to the purpose of le bourdon.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • Never mind me, bourdon—set me to do anything in which you think I can be of use!

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • At length le bourdon paused, causing his companion to stop also.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • As le bourdon was much in earnest, Pigeonswing was fain to comply.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
  • In a few more minutes le bourdon stopped, near the place of his destination.

    Oak Openings James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for bourdon


/ˈbʊədən; ˈbɔːdən/
a 16-foot organ stop of the stopped diapason type
the drone of a bagpipe
a drone or pedal point in the bass of a harmonized melody
Word Origin
C14: from Old French: drone (of a musical instrument), of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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