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90s Slang You Should Know


[spin-it] /ˈspɪn ɪt/
a small upright piano.
a small, square piano.
any of various small harpsichords.
Also called spinet organ. a small electric organ.
Origin of spinet
1655-65; aphetic variant of obsolete espinette < French < Italian spinetta, probably equivalent to spin(a) thorn (see spine) + -etta diminutive suffix; the existence of an instrument-maker named Spinetti is unverified Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spinet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then the order was given, "spinet, be silent," and all was quiet.

  • Her laugh was sweet and tinkly, like the upper notes of a spinet.

    IT and Other Stories Gouverneur Morris
  • They were ushered to a room with delightfully low, twin beds, delicately shaded light, spinet desk and even a radio.

    Third Warning Roy J. Snell
  • This spinet remained one of Verdi's most treasured possessions.

    Verdi: Man and Musician Frederick James Crowest
  • Often at night, when all were asleep, he would steal away to the garret and work at the spinet, mastering difficulties one by one.

  • He learned to play with the strings of his spinet muffled in a handkerchief.

  • Breathing hard, Groverzb rose and gingerly lifted the spinet's lid.

    Quiet, Please Kevin Scott
  • Marius set the candle on the object nearest to his hand, the spinet.

    The Rake's Progress Marjorie Bowen
  • "They are upstairs, madam," he answered, remaining standing by the spinet.

    The Rake's Progress Marjorie Bowen
British Dictionary definitions for spinet


/spɪˈnɛt; ˈspɪnɪt/
a small type of harpsichord having one manual
Word Origin
C17: from Italian spinetta, perhaps from Giovanni Spinetti, 16th-century Italian maker of musical instruments and its supposed inventor
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 spinet

1660s, spinette, "small harpsichord," from older French espinette (1520s), from Italian spinetta, said by Scaliger to be a diminutive of spina "thorn, spine," from Latin spina "thorn" (see spine), so called because the strings were plucked with thorn-like quills. The other theory (favored by OED) dates to early 17c. and claims the word is from the name of the Venetian inventor, Giovanni Spinetti (fl. c.1503).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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