• synonyms


or re·beck

  1. a Renaissance fiddle with a pear-shaped body tapering into a neck that ends in a sickle-shaped or scroll-shaped pegbox.
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Origin of rebec

1745–55; < Middle French; replacing Middle English ribibe < Old French rebebeArabic rabāb rebab
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rebec

Historical Examples

  • One of them is a rebec with three strings; the other is a small violin.

    A Popular History of the Art of Music

    W. S. B. Mathews

  • Mention is made of a Rebec, attributed to Andrea Amati, dated 1546.

    The Violin

    George Hart

  • The rebec was not known in Arabia until nearly two centuries after we find the crwth mentioned by Venance Fortunatus.

  • Bonnivet, during his investment of Milan, had posted Bayard with a small corps in the village of Rebec.

  • This rebab is an exact counterpart of the rebec formerly popular in Western Europe.

British Dictionary definitions for rebec



  1. a medieval stringed instrument resembling the violin but having a lute-shaped body
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French rebebe, from Arabic rebāb; perhaps also influenced by Old French bec beak
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 rebec


medieval stringed musical instrument, early 15c., from Middle French rebec (15c.), an unexplained alteration (perhaps somehow influenced by bec "beak") of Old French ribabe (13c.), ultimately from Arabic rebab. Cf. Old Provençal rebec, Italian ribeca. It has three strings and is played with a bow.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper