[ hahrp ]
See synonyms for: harpharping on Thesaurus.com

  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.

  1. a vertical metal frame shaped to bend around the bulb in a standing lamp and used to support a lamp shade.

  2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of Irish birth or descent.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

Other words from harp

  • harplike, adjective
  • un·harped, adjective

Words Nearby harp

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use harp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for harp


/ (hɑːp) /

  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

  1. an informal name (esp in pop music) for harmonica

  1. (intr) to play the harp

  2. (tr) archaic to speak; utter; express

  1. (intr; foll by on or upon) to speak or write in a persistent and tedious manner

Origin of harp

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

Derived forms of harp

  • harper or harpist, 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 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.