• synonyms


  1. a Russian musical instrument having a triangular body and a neck like that of a guitar.
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Origin of balalaika

1780–90; < Russian balaláĭka, equivalent to balalaĭ-, probably originally a v. base, akin to balabólitʾ, balákatʾ chatter, talk nonsense (compare Russian dial., Ukrainian balabáĭka balalaika), expressive derivatives of Slavic *bay- speak, tell, akin to fate, -phasia + -ka noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for balalaika

Historical Examples of balalaika

  • And from every saddle dangled a balalaika and the terrible Cossack whip.

    The Crimson Tide

    Robert W. Chambers

  • The sound of music came from somewhere outside, notes of the balalaika.

  • One of the children played a balalaika and sang in a broken, mournful voice that did not at all belong to her age.

  • Rouletabille listened to the voice dying away with the last sob of the balalaika.

  • Balalaika, a musical instrument of very ancient Slavonic origin, common among the Russians and Tartars.

British Dictionary definitions for balalaika


  1. a plucked musical instrument, usually having a triangular body and three strings: used chiefly for Russian folk music
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Word Origin for balalaika

C18: from Russian
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 balalaika


stringed instrument with a triangular body, 1788, from Russian balalaika, said to be related to balabolit' "to chatter, babble," an imitative word.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper