1. a stringed musical instrument with a long, fretted neck, a flat, somewhat violinlike body, and typically six strings, which are plucked with the fingers or with a plectrum.

Origin of guitar

1615–25; < Spanish guitarra < Arabic kītārahGreek kithára kithara Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for guitar

Contemporary Examples of guitar

Historical Examples of guitar

  • Down the middle of the guitar there is a walled enclosure of the shape of a banjo.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Gino got out a guitar and sang too, sitting out on the loggia.

  • What good fortune it was to have saved your guitar from shipwreck!

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • Jackson made a brusque movement, and accidentally touched the guitar.

    Tales of Unrest

    Joseph Conrad

  • This, from the moment we had heard Manuel's guitar, had been my idea.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for guitar


  1. music a plucked stringed instrument originating in Spain, usually having six strings, a flat sounding board with a circular sound hole in the centre, a flat back, and a fretted fingerboard. Range: more than three octaves upwards from E on the first leger line below the bass staffSee also electric guitar, bass guitar, Hawaiian guitar
Derived Formsguitarist, nounguitar-like, adjective

Word Origin for guitar

C17: from Spanish guitarra, from Arabic qītār, from Greek kithara cithara
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 guitar

1620s, ultimately from Greek kithara "cithara," a stringed musical instrument related to the lyre, perhaps from Persian sihtar (see sitar); the name reached English several times, including early 14c. giterne, in reference to various stringed, guitar-like instruments; the modern word is directly from Spanish guittara, from Arabic qitar, from the Greek.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

guitar in Culture


A stringed musical instrument (see strings) usually played by strumming or plucking. Guitars are widely used in folk music and, often amplified electronically, in country and western music and rock 'n' roll.

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.