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[oh-boh] /ˈoʊ boʊ/
a woodwind instrument having a slender conical, tubular body and a double-reed mouthpiece.
(in an organ) a reed stop with a sound like that of an oboe.
(a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter O.)
Origin of oboe1
1690-1700; < Italian < French hautbois, equivalent to haut high + bois wood; see hautboy


[oh-boh] /ˈoʊ boʊ/
noun, (sometimes initial capital letter)
a navigation system utilizing two radar ground stations that measure the distance to an aircraft and then radio the information to the aircraft.
First recorded in 1940-45; special use of oboe1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for oboe


a woodwind instrument of the family that includes the bassoon and cor anglais, consisting of a conical tube fitted with a mouthpiece having a double reed. It has a penetrating nasal tone. Range: about two octaves plus a sixth upwards from B flat below middle C
a person who plays this instrument in an orchestra: second oboe
Archaic form hautboy
Derived Forms
oboist, noun
Word Origin
C18: via Italian oboe, phonetic approximation to French haut bois, literally: high wood (referring to its pitch)
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 oboe

1724, from Italian oboe, from phonetic spelling of Middle French hautbois (itself borrowed in English 16c. as hautboy), from haut "high, loud, high-pitched" (see haught) + bois "wood" (see bush (n.)). So called because it had the highest register among woodwind instruments. Related: Oboist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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oboe in Culture

oboe definition

A woodwind instrument played with a double reed; similar to a bassoon, but pitched higher. Some describe its tone as nasal.

Note: The oboe appears frequently as a solo instrument in symphonies and other kinds of classical music.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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