Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[klar-uh-net] /ˌklær əˈnɛt/
a woodwind instrument in the form of a cylindrical tube with a single reed attached to its mouthpiece.
Origin of clarinet
1790-1800; < French clarinette, equivalent to Old French clarin clarion + -ette -ette
Related forms
clarinetist, clarinettist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for clarinet
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for clarinet


noun (music)
a keyed woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore and a single reed. It is a transposing instrument, most commonly pitched in A or B flat Obsolete name clarionet (ˌklærɪəˈnɛt)
an orchestral musician who plays the clarinet
Derived Forms
clarinettist, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for clarinet

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
clarinet in Culture

clarinet definition

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.

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

Word of the Day

Nearby words for clarinet

Word Value for clarinet

Scrabble Words With Friends