[kluh-veer, klav-ee-er, kley-vee-]
See more synonyms for clavier on

Origin of clavier

1700–10; < French: keyboard, in Old French, keyholder, equivalent to Latin clāvi(s) key + -ier -ier2



or kla·vier

[kluh-veer, klav-ee-er, kley-vee-]
  1. any musical instrument having a keyboard, especially a stringed keyboard instrument, as a harpsichord, clavichord, or piano.

Origin of clavier

1835–45; < German Klavier < French clavier keyboard; see clavier1
Related formscla·vier·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clavier

Historical Examples of clavier

  • It was applied first to an instrument called a clavier and later to the organ.

    How the Piano Came to Be

    Ellye Howell Glover

  • "Writing a concerto for the clavier," answered the small boy.

    Historic Boyhoods

    Rupert Sargent Holland

  • Herr Gleissner composed twelve songs with clavier accompaniment.

  • In a corner some musicians discoursed on viols and lutes and a clavier.

    The Mercenary

    W. J. Eccott

  • We think that when you get your clavier with your Commencement money, we had better get a piano also.

    Basil Everman

    Elsie Singmaster

British Dictionary definitions for clavier


    1. any keyboard instrument
    2. the keyboard itself

Word Origin for clavier

C18: from French: keyboard, from Old French (in the sense: key bearer), from Latin clāvis key
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 clavier

1708, "keyboard," from French clavier, originally "a key-bearer," from Latin clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)). The French word also is the source of German Klavier, Dutch klavier, Danish klaver, etc. The German word is the direct source of the name of the musical instrument, a sense attested from 1845 in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper