[ klar-uh-net ]

  1. a woodwind instrument in the form of a cylindrical tube with a single reed attached to its mouthpiece.

Origin of clarinet

1790–1800; <French clarinette, equivalent to Old French clarinclarion + -ette-ette

Other words from clarinet

  • clar·i·net·ist, clar·i·net·tist, noun

Words Nearby clarinet Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use clarinet in a sentence

  • I suddenly became aware of a harmonica and a clarinet playing a weird, harmonious message.

    My Wonderful Visit | Charlie Chaplin
  • He reappeared while Siebel, with the voice of a clarinet, was beginning to tell the flowers what they were to say to Margherita.

    Castellinaria | Henry Festing Jones
  • The clarinet has a mouthpiece containing a reed similar to that made by cutting a tongue on a straw or quill.

    Physics | Willis Eugene Tower
  • The length of the vibrating air column in the clarinet is changed by opening holes in the sides of the tube.

    Physics | Willis Eugene Tower
  • At length contra-bass and the two bassoons gather themselves together for a new effort and the clarinet has time to take a rest.

British Dictionary definitions for clarinet


/ (ˌklærɪˈnɛt) /

  1. a keyed woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore and a single reed. It is a transposing instrument, most commonly pitched in A or B flat: Obsolete name: clarionet (ˌklærɪəˈnɛt)

  2. an orchestral musician who plays the clarinet

Origin of clarinet

C18: from French clarinette, probably from Italian clarinetto, from clarino trumpet

Derived forms of clarinet

  • clarinettist or clarinetist, 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

Cultural definitions for clarinet


A woodwind instrument, usually made of black wood or plastic, and played with a single reed. The clarinet has extensive use in Dixieland, jazz, and military music, as well as in classical music.

Notes for clarinet

The most famous American clarinetist was Benny Goodman.

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.