[ ok-uh-ree-nuh ]

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

Origin of ocarina

First recorded in 1875–80; from Italian, originally dialect (Emilia), diminutive of oca “goose” (from Late Latin auca, contraction of unattestedavica, derivative of Latin avis “bird”), so called from the instrument's shape; apparently the name given to it by Giuseppe Donati (1836–1925) of Budrio, near Bologna, who popularized a ceramic version c1860

Other words from ocarina

  • oc·a·ri·nist, noun

Words Nearby ocarina

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

How to use ocarina in a sentence

  • 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 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The neighbouring forest was soon echoing the strident notes of xylophone, banjo, ocarina and trombone.

  • Treatises upon the violin are fairly numerous; but I do not remember having come across many works on the Jew's harp or ocarina.

    The Book-Hunter at Home | P. B. M. Allan
  • A solitary ocarina continued to whistle awhile; then all was still.

    The Quest | Frederik van Eeden
  • 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) /

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

Origin of 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