• synonyms


noun, plural psal·ter·ies.
  1. an ancient musical instrument consisting of a flat sounding box with numerous strings which are plucked with the fingers or with a plectrum.
  2. (initial capital letter) the Psalter.
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Origin of psaltery

1300–50; Middle English sautrie < Middle French sauter(i)e < Late Latin psaltērium; see Psalter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for psaltery

Historical Examples of psaltery

  • Praise him with the sound of the trumpet; praise him with the psaltery and harp.

    Musical Myths and Facts, Volume II (of 2)

    Carl Engel

  • Here are the trumpets, the harp, the psaltery, and the timbrel.

  • This was the psaltery and the dulcimer of the Assyrians and the Hebrews.

    Inventions in the Century

    William Henry Doolittle

  • The Hebrew psaltery is supposed to have been a variety of the dulcimer.

  • Mersennus (b. 1588) also identifies the Psaltery with the Dulcimer.

    Shakespeare and Music

    Edward W. Naylor

British Dictionary definitions for psaltery


noun plural -teries
  1. music an ancient stringed instrument similar to the lyre, but having a trapezoidal sounding board over which the strings are stretched
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Word Origin for psaltery

Old English: see Psalter
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 psaltery


"ancient stringed instrument," c.1300, from Old French psalterie (12c.), from Latin psalterium "stringed instrument," from Greek psalterion "stringed instrument," from psallein "play on a stringed instrument, pull, pluck" (see psalm).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper