• synonyms


[kar-uh-lon, -luh n or, esp. British, kuh-ril-yuh n]
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  1. a set of stationary bells hung in a tower and sounded by manual or pedal action, or by machinery.
  2. a set of horizontal metal plates, struck by hammers, used in the modern orchestra.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for carillon

Historical Examples

  • The child went out of the place sadly, as the carillon rang.

    Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida


  • His engagement to Miss Carillon had not been an agreeable experience.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • "You seemed to think differently at Carillon not long ago," he returned.

  • From the time he held her in his arms at Carillon, he knew it.

  • Then comes the faint music of the carillon laughing in the night.


    Percy Brebner

British Dictionary definitions for carillon


noun music
  1. a set of bells usually hung in a tower and played either by keys and pedals or mechanically
  2. a tune played on such bells
  3. an organ stop giving the effect of a bell
  4. a form of celesta or keyboard glockenspiel
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verb -lons, -lonning or -lonned
  1. (intr) to play a carillon
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Word Origin

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper