an early keyboard instrument producing a soft sound by means of metal blades attached to the inner ends of the keys gently striking the strings.

Origin of clavichord

1425–75; late Middle English < Medieval Latin clāvichordium, equivalent to Latin clāvi(s) key + chord(a) chord2 + -ium -ium
Related formsclav·i·chord·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clavichord

Historical Examples of clavichord

  • At a later period the clavichord was copied by the Germans and Belgians.

    How the Piano Came to Be

    Ellye Howell Glover

  • Mishka had opened the clavichord and was strumming on it with one finger.

    War and Peace

    Leo Tolstoy

  • We remained there the whole day, and I played on the organ and a clavichord.

  • The clavichord was always built in oblong shape, like our square piano.

    How Music Developed

    W. J. Henderson

  • This subsequently became the action of the German clavichord.

    How Music Developed

    W. J. Henderson

British Dictionary definitions for clavichord



a keyboard instrument consisting of a number of thin wire strings struck from below by brass tangents. The instrument is noted for its delicate tones, since the tangents do not rebound from the string until the key is released
Derived Formsclavichordist, noun

Word Origin for clavichord

C15: from Medieval Latin clāvichordium, from Latin clāvis key + chorda string, chord 1
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 clavichord

mid-15c., from Medieval Latin clavicordium (15c.), from Latin clavis "a key" (see slot (n.2)) + chorda "a string" (see cord).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper