• synonyms


or tym·pa·ni

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noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
  1. a set of kettledrums, especially as used in an orchestra or band.

Origin of timpani

< Italian, plural of timpano kettledrum < Latin tympanum < Greek týmpanon
Related formstim·pa·nist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for timpani



pl n
  1. (sometimes functioning as singular) a set of kettledrums, two or more in numberOften (informal) shortened to: timps
Derived Formstimpanist or tympanist, noun

Word Origin

from Italian, pl of timpano kettledrum, from Latin: tympanum
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 timpani


1876, plural of timpano (1740), from Italian timpani "drums," from Latin tympanum "drum" (see tympanum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

timpani in Culture



Italian for kettledrums; the term timpani is often preferred by composers and performers.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.