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clarinet

[klar-uh-net]
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noun
  1. a woodwind instrument in the form of a cylindrical tube with a single reed attached to its mouthpiece.
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Origin of clarinet

1790–1800; < French clarinette, equivalent to Old French clarin clarion + -ette -ette
Related formsclar·i·net·ist, clar·i·net·tist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clarinet

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British Dictionary definitions for clarinet

clarinet

noun music
  1. a keyed woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore and a single reed. It is a transposing instrument, most commonly pitched in A or B flatObsolete name: clarionet (ˌklærɪəˈnɛt)
  2. an orchestral musician who plays the clarinet
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Derived Formsclarinettist or clarinetist, noun

Word Origin

C18: from French clarinette, probably from Italian clarinetto, from clarino trumpet
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

Word Origin and History for clarinet

n.

1768, from French clarinette (18c.), diminutive of clarine "little bell" (16c.), noun use of fem. of adjective clarin (which also was used as a noun, "trumpet, clarion"), from clair, cler (see clear (adj.)). Alternative form clarionet is attested from 1784.

The instrument, a modification of the medieval shawm, said to have been invented c.1700 by J.C. Denner of Nuremberg, Germany. A recognized orchestral instrument from c.1775. Ease of playing increased greatly with a design improvement from 1843 based on Boehm's flute.

After the hautboy came the clarinet. This instrument astonished every beholder, not so much, perhaps, on account of its sound, as its machinery. One that could manage the keys of a clarinet, forty five years ago, so as to play a tune, was one of the wonders of the age. Children of all ages would crowd around the performer, and wonder and admire when the keys were moved. [Nathaniel D. Gould, "Church Music in America," Boston, 1853]

German Clarinet, Swedish klarinett, Italian clarinetto, etc. all are from French. Related: Clarinettist.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

clarinet in Culture

clarinet

A woodwind instrument, usually made of black wood or plastic, and played with a single reed. The clarinet has extensive use in Dixieland, jazz, and military music, as well as in classical music.

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Note

The most famous American clarinetist was Benny Goodman.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.