[boo r-dn, bawr-, bohr-]

noun Music.

  1. the drone pipe of a bagpipe.
  2. the drone string of a stringed instrument.
a low-pitched tone; bass.
a pipe organ stop of very low pitch.
the bell in a carillon having the lowest pitch.

Origin of bourdon

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French; see burden2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bourdon

Historical Examples of bourdon

  • The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.

  • Bourdon, arm all batteries and lock onto that Mancji ship,” I ordered.


    John Keith Laumer

  • He manages a canoe well, when himself; so go, Bourdon, while you can.

    Oak Openings

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • "Let me know the truth, at once, Chippewa," exclaimed le Bourdon.

    Oak Openings

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • At length le Bourdon paused, causing his companion to stop also.

    Oak Openings

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for bourdon



a 16-foot organ stop of the stopped diapason type
the drone of a bagpipe
a drone or pedal point in the bass of a harmonized melody

Word Origin for bourdon

C14: from Old French: drone (of a musical instrument), of imitative origin
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