See more synonyms for recorder on
  1. a person who records, especially as an official duty.
  2. English Law.
    1. a judge in a city or borough court.
    2. (formerly) the legal adviser of a city or borough, with responsibility for keeping a record of legal actions and local customs.
  3. a recording or registering apparatus or device.
  4. a device for recording sound, images, or data by electrical, magnetic, or optical means.
  5. an end-blown flute having a fipple mouthpiece, eight finger holes, and a soft, mellow tone.

Origin of recorder

1275–1325; Middle English recorder wind instrument (see record, -er1), recordour legal official (< Anglo-French recordour, Old French recordeour) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for recorder

Contemporary Examples of recorder

Historical Examples of recorder

  • There the Recorder of the States came to read the sentence to him.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • After the sentence was read, the Recorder asked him whether he had anything to answer.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • Yea, Mr. Recorder himself must not look for life from that which he himself revealeth.


    James Anthony Froude

  • I dread the time when I shall have to cannibalize the recorder.

    The Issahar Artifacts

    Jesse Franklin Bone

  • "The recorder here was out of adjustment, sir," he said simply.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for recorder


  1. a person who records, such as an official or historian
  2. something that records, esp an apparatus that provides a permanent record of experiments, etc
  3. short for tape recorder
  4. music a wind instrument of the flute family, blown through a fipple in the mouth end, having a reedlike quality of tone. There are four usual sizes: bass, tenor, treble, and descant
  5. (in England) a barrister or solicitor of at least ten years' standing appointed to sit as a part-time judge in the crown court
Derived Formsrecordership, noun

Word Origin for recorder

sense 4 probably from record (vb) in the archaic sense "to sing"
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 recorder

"chief legal officer of a city," early 15c., from Anglo-French recordour (early 14c.), Old French recordeor "witness; storyteller; minstrel," from Medieval Latin recordator, from Latin recordari "remember" (see record (v.)).

Meaning "registering apparatus" is from 1873. The musical instrument is attested by this name from early 15c., from record (v.) in the obsolete sense of "practice a tune." Used by Shakespeare and Milton ("of flutes and soft recorders," "Paradise Lost"). The name, and the device, were rarely heard by mid-1800s, ousted by the flute, but enjoyed a revival after 1911 as an easy-to-play instrument for musical beginners.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recorder in Culture


A wooden flute played like a whistle. It was popular in the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries. Interest in it has been revived over the past few decades.

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.