noun, plural pic·co·los.

a small flute sounding an octave higher than the ordinary flute.

Origin of piccolo

1855–60; < Italian: literally, small
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piccolo

Contemporary Examples of piccolo

Historical Examples of piccolo

  • Get Piccolo to hook the boat and take Pony to the reservation.

  • "To me it sounds like a cross between a clarinet, a flute, and a piccolo," he smiled.

    Frank Merriwell's Son

    Burt L. Standish

  • Then he opened the bag, in which were sections of a flute and a piccolo.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

  • Then suddenly the piccolo broke forth, wild, shrill, brilliant.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

  • He almost hated the little handbag he carried, which held his flute and piccolo.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for piccolo


noun plural -los

a woodwind instrument, the smallest member of the flute family, lying an octave above that of the fluteSee flute (def. 1)

Word Origin for piccolo

C19: from Italian: small; compare English petty, French petit
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 piccolo

1856, piccolo flute, from French piccolo, from Italian flauto piccolo "small flute," from piccolo "small," perhaps a children's made-up word, or from picca "point," or from Vulgar Latin root *pikk- "little," related to *piccare "to pierce" (see pike (n.2)). Other sources suggest it is from the same source as French petit (see petit (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

piccolo in Culture



A small, high-pitched flute.

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.