[ kar-uh-lon, -luh n or, esp. British, kuh-ril-yuh n ]
/ ˈkær əˌlɒn, -lən or, esp. British, kəˈrɪl yən /


a set of stationary bells hung in a tower and sounded by manual or pedal action, or by machinery.
a set of horizontal metal plates, struck by hammers, used in the modern orchestra.

Nearby words

  1. caricaturist,
  2. caricom,
  3. carie,
  4. caries,
  5. carifta,
  6. carillonneur,
  7. carin,
  8. carina,
  9. carinate,
  10. carinate abdomen

Origin of carillon

1765–75; < French: set of bells, Old French car(e)ignon, quarregnon < Vulgar Latin *quadriniōn-, re-formation of Late Latin quaterniōn- quaternion; presumably originally a set of four bells Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for carillon

British Dictionary definitions for carillon


/ (kəˈrɪljən) /

noun music

a set of bells usually hung in a tower and played either by keys and pedals or mechanically
a tune played on such bells
an organ stop giving the effect of a bell
a form of celesta or keyboard glockenspiel

verb -lons, -lonning or -lonned

(intr) to play a carillon

Word Origin for carillon

C18: from French: set of bells, from Old French quarregnon, ultimately from Latin quattuor four

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 carillon



1775, from French carillon, which, according to French sources, is from Old French carignon "set of four bells," an alteration of quarregon, from Vulgar Latin *quadrinionem, from Latin quaternionem "set of four," from quater "four times," from PIE *kwetrus, from root *kwetwer- "four" (see four).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper