[man-dl-in, man-dl-in]


a musical instrument with a pear-shaped wooden body and a fretted neck.

Origin of mandolin

1700–10; < Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola, variant of mandora, alteration of pandora bandore
Related formsman·do·lin·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mandolin

Historical Examples of mandolin

  • On a low couch piled with cushions lay Helen's mandolin and a banjo.

  • Silly child, to start at a Mandolin shaking his head and beard at you.

  • Nasmyth rose and swept his knife-haft across the strings of the mandolin.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss

  • He seized his mandolin, slung it round his neck, and leant against the bulkhead.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • "All right, I'll be glad to come," answered the mandolin player.

    The Rover Boys on a Hunt

    Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)

British Dictionary definitions for mandolin




a plucked stringed instrument related to the lute, having four pairs of strings tuned in ascending fifths stretched over a small light body with a fretted fingerboard. It is usually played with a plectrum, long notes being sustained by the tremolo
a vegetable slicer consisting of a flat stainless-steel frame with adjustable cutting blades
Derived Formsmandolinist, noun

Word Origin for mandolin

C18: via French from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandora lute, ultimately from Greek pandoura musical instrument with three strings
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 mandolin

1707, from French mandoline, from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola, a larger kind of mandolin, altered from Late Latin pandura "three-stringed lute," from Greek pandoura, which is of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper