[ ok-uh-ree-nuh ]
/ ˌɒk əˈri nə /


a simple musical wind instrument shaped somewhat like an elongated egg with a mouthpiece and finger holes.

Origin of ocarina

< Italian, orig. dial. (Emilia), diminutive of oca goose (< Late Latin auca, contraction of *avica, derivative of Latin avis bird), so called from the instrument's shape; apparently the name given to it by Giuseppe Donati of Budrio, near Bologna, who popularized a ceramic version c1860
Also called sweet potato.
Related formsoc·a·ri·nist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ocarina

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, considered by some to be the best game of all time, was remade for the 3DS in 2011.

    Video Games Go Wild for Reboots|Alec Kubas-Meyer|July 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
  • The neighbouring forest was soon echoing the strident notes of xylophone, banjo, ocarina and trombone.

  • Im a-goin south from here to give a Chinese lady a lesson on the ocarina.

    Dust of the Desert|Robert Welles Ritchie
  • Ma'am, if you never do, at least remember that the flute was an ocarina.

    The Dop Doctor|Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

British Dictionary definitions for ocarina


/ (ˌɒkəˈriːnə) /


an egg-shaped wind instrument with a protruding mouthpiece and six to eight finger holes, producing an almost pure toneAlso called (US informal): sweet potato

Word Origin for ocarina

C19: from Italian: little goose, from oca goose, ultimately from Latin avis bird
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 ocarina



1877, from Italian ocarina, diminutive of oca "goose" (so called for its shape), from Vulgar Latin *auca, from Latin avicula "small bird," diminutive of avis "bird" (see aviary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper