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[fil-hahr-mon-ik, fil-er-]
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  1. fond of or devoted to music; music-loving: used especially in the name of certain musical societies that sponsor symphony orchestras (Philharmonic Societies) and hence applied to their concerts (philharmonic concerts).
  2. of, noting, or presented by a symphony orchestra or the society sponsoring it.
  1. a symphony orchestra or the society sponsoring it.

Origin of philharmonic

1755–65; phil- + harmonic; modeled on French philharmonique or Italian filarmonico
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for philharmonic


  1. fond of music
  2. (capital when part of a name) denoting an orchestra, choir, society, etc, devoted to the performance, appreciation, and study of music
  1. (capital when part of a name) a specific philharmonic choir, orchestra, or society

Word Origin

C18: from French philharmonique, from Italian filarmonico music-loving; see philo-, harmony
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 philharmonic


1813 (in the name of a society founded in London for the promotion of instrumental music), from French philharmonique (1739), from Italian filarmonico, literally "loving harmony," from Greek philos "loving" see philo-) + ta harmonika "theory of harmony, music," from neuter plural of harmonikos (see harmonic). The Society name was taken up in the names of many symphony orchestras.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper