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cello1

[chel-oh]
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noun, plural cel·los.
  1. the second largest member of the violin family, rested vertically on the floor between the performer's knees when being played.
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Origin of cello1

First recorded in 1875–80; short for violoncello
Also called violoncello.

cello2

[sel-oh]
noun, adjective Informal.
  1. cellophane.
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Origin of cello2

by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cello

cello

noun plural -los
  1. music a bowed stringed instrument of the violin family. Range: more than four octaves upwards from C below the bass staff. It has four strings, is held between the knees, and has an extendible metal spike at the lower end, which acts as a supportFull name: violoncello
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Derived Formscellist, noun
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 cello

n.

1857, shortening of violoncello (q.v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cello in Culture

cello

[(chel-oh)]

An instrument in the violin family, known for its rich tone. Among the strings, or stringed instruments, the cello has the second-lowest range, higher only than the bass viol, and it has the lowest part in string quartets. Cellists hold the instrument between their knees to play it. Cello is short for violoncello.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.