- a guitarlike Japanese musical instrument having an extremely long neck and three strings, played with a plectrum.
Origin of samisen
1610–20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese sānxia three-string banjo
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for samisen
One took her samisen and sang; never did I listen to anything sweeter.Lafcadio Hearn
Nina H. Kennard
And you could not play the samisen because I was in your arms.The Way of the Gods
John Luther Long
The street of the geisha is full of music, for they play the samisen there all day long.
She played the samisen, the kotto, the biwa, and the small hand-drum.
Sawaichi was a honest, good-natured fellow, who earned a bare living by giving lessons on the koto and samisen.Romances of Old Japan
Yei Theodora Ozaki
- a variant of shamisen
Word Origin and History for samisen
Japanese three-stringed instrument, 1610s, from Chinese san-hsien, literally "three-strings," from san "three" + hsien "string."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper