harp

[hahrp]
See more synonyms for harp on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a musical instrument consisting of a triangular frame formed by a soundbox, a pillar, and a curved neck, and having strings stretched between the soundbox and the neck that are plucked with the fingers.
  2. anything that resembles this instrument, especially in having a row of parallel strings or wires, as various mechanical devices or kitchen implements for slicing cheese.
  3. a vertical metal frame shaped to bend around the bulb in a standing lamp and used to support a lamp shade.
  4. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of Irish birth or descent.
  5. Also called harper. any of several English coins issued for use in Ireland during the 16th and 17th centuries, bearing the figure of a harp on the reverse.
  6. South Midland and Southern U.S. a mouth harp; harmonica.
verb (used without object)
  1. to play on a harp.
Verb Phrases
  1. harp on/upon, to dwell on persistently or tediously in speaking or writing: He was always harping on the importance of taking vitamin supplements.

Origin of harp

before 900; Middle English harpe, Old English hearpe; cognate with Dutch harp, German Harfe, Old Norse harpa
Related formsharp·like, adjectiveun·harped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for harp

dwell, reiterate, repeat

Examples from the Web for harp

Contemporary Examples of harp

Historical Examples of harp

  • So he invented or improved the harp, and fixed the rules of verse and song.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • He sat down, back of the harp, and made ready to sweep the strings.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • The bard had come to see whether the stories about the harp were true or not.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • So word was passed for Allan, and presently he came, bringing his harp.

  • Orpheus went into the woods one day and took nothing but his harp with him.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd


British Dictionary definitions for harp

harp

noun
  1. a large triangular plucked stringed instrument consisting of a soundboard connected to an upright pillar by means of a curved crossbar from which the strings extend downwards. The strings are tuned diatonically and may be raised in pitch either one or two semitones by the use of pedals (double-action harp). Basic key: B major; range: nearly seven octaves
  2. something resembling this, esp in shape
  3. an informal name (esp in pop music) for harmonica
verb
  1. (intr) to play the harp
  2. (tr) archaic to speak; utter; express
  3. (intr; foll by on or upon) to speak or write in a persistent and tedious manner
Derived Formsharper or harpist, noun

Word Origin for harp

Old English hearpe; related to Old Norse harpa, Old High German harfa, Latin corbis basket, Russian korobit to warp
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 harp
n.

Old English hearpe, from Proto-Germanic *kharpon- (cf. Old Saxon harpa "instrument of torture;" Old Norse harpa, Dutch harp, Old High German harpfa, German Harfe "harp"). Late Latin harpa, source of words in some Romanic languages, is a borrowing from Germanic. Meaning "harmonica" is from 1887, short for mouth-harp. The harp seal (1784) is so called for the harp-shaped markings on its back.

v.

Old English hearpian; see harp (n.). Cognate with Middle Dutch, Dutch harpen, Middle High German harpfen, German harfen. Figurative sense of "talk overmuch" (about something) first recorded mid-15c., originally to harp upon one string. Related: Harped; harping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

harp in Culture

harp

An instrument in the string section of the orchestra. The orchestral harp is several feet tall and has pedals that allow the harpist to change the key of the instrument as necessary.

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.