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[klav-i-kawrd] /ˈklæv ɪˌkɔrd/
an early keyboard instrument producing a soft sound by means of metal blades attached to the inner ends of the keys gently striking the strings.
Origin of clavichord
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Medieval Latin clāvichordium, equivalent to Latin clāvi(s) key + chord(a) chord2 + -ium -ium
Related forms
clavichordist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clavichord
Historical Examples
  • At a later period the clavichord was copied by the Germans and Belgians.

    How the Piano Came to Be Ellye Howell Glover
  • Mishka had opened the clavichord and was strumming on it with one finger.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • We remained there the whole day, and I played on the organ and a clavichord.

  • This subsequently became the action of the German clavichord.

    How Music Developed W. J. Henderson
  • The clavichord was always built in oblong shape, like our square piano.

    How Music Developed W. J. Henderson
  • The pianoforte was directly evolved from the clavichord and the harpsichord.

  • The clavichord retained the box shape of its prototype, the monochord.

  • He could play the organ, clavichord, violin, and other stringed instruments.

    Johann Sebastian Bach Thomas Tapper
  • It was the German clavichord that had 'tangents' of brass at the ends of the key levers.

    Shakespeare and Music Edward W. Naylor
  • This method was particularly applicable to the clavichord, one of Bachs favourite instruments.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
British Dictionary definitions for clavichord


a keyboard instrument consisting of a number of thin wire strings struck from below by brass tangents. The instrument is noted for its delicate tones, since the tangents do not rebound from the string until the key is released
Derived Forms
clavichordist, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin clāvichordium, from Latin clāvis key + chorda string, chord1
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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Word Origin and History for clavichord

mid-15c., from Medieval Latin clavicordium (15c.), from Latin clavis "a key" (see slot (n.2)) + chorda "a string" (see cord).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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