Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[koh-toh; Japanese kaw-taw] /ˈkoʊ toʊ; Japanese ˈkɔˈtɔ/
noun, plural kotos, koto.
a Japanese musical instrument having numerous strings, usually seven or thirteen, that are stretched over a convex wooden sounding board and are plucked with three plectra, worn on the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of one hand.
Origin of koto
Borrowed into English from Japanese around 1785-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for koto
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She writes and plays the koto well, besides being clever at her needle, and can skilfully sew crpe and silken robes.

    Romances of Old Japan Yei Theodora Ozaki
  • koto cried, and I knew he had leaped to the same conclusion I had.

    The Winged Men of Orcon David R. Sparks
  • The next night, too, while Yae and Yakumo were playing on the flute and koto, the young man appeared again.

    Myths & Legends of Japan F. Hadland (Frederick Hadland) Davis
  • Then I turned to koto and in the dark waved a fist under his nose.

    The Winged Men of Orcon David R. Sparks
  • O'Tsugi was engaged in putting back the koto (harp) into its cover.

    Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House) James S. De Benneville
  • While his sister is doing her work, Toyo is practising on his koto.

    Our Little Japanese Cousin Mary Hazelton Wade
  • It was koto's voice, and it came from behind the abutment of rock toward which I was hurrying.

    The Winged Men of Orcon David R. Sparks
  • Other instruments of music are the koto, the tsuzumi and the drum.

    A Japanese Boy Shigemi Shiukichi
  • I flung myself over to koto's side to help him with the gun.

    The Winged Men of Orcon David R. Sparks
British Dictionary definitions for koto


noun (pl) kotos
a Japanese stringed instrument, consisting of a rectangular wooden body over which are stretched silk strings, which are plucked with plectrums or a nail-like device
Word 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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for koto

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for koto

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for koto