• synonyms


  1. either of a pair of concave pieces of wood held in the palm of the hand and clicked together, usually to accompany dancing.
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Origin of castanet

1640–50; < Spanish castañeta, equivalent to castañ(a) chestnut (< Latin castanea) + -eta diminutive suffix; see -et, -ette
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for castanet

Historical Examples

  • I turned to Scipio, standing by the low-boy, his teeth, going like a castanet.

    Richard Carvel, Complete

    Winston Churchill

  • And now the trio was a trio of castanet smacks and cymbal claps.

    Sea and Sardinia

    D. H. Lawrence

  • That vulgar girl is singing the castanet song in the second act at this moment.

    The Law and the Lady

    Wilkie Collins

  • There again was Castanet, a partisan leader in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for controversial divinity.

  • The kettle drum and the castanet were in common use among them, and pictures of girls playing on the lute are not infrequent.

    Oriental Women

    Edward Bagby Pollard

Word Origin and History for castanet


usually castanets, 1640s, from French castagnette or directly from Spanish castañeta diminutive of castaña "chestnut," from Latin castanea (see chestnut).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper