[ shawm ]
/ ʃɔm /


an early musical woodwind instrument with a double reed: the forerunner of the modern oboe.

Nearby words

  1. shawinigan-sud,
  2. shawl,
  3. shawl collar,
  4. shawl tongue,
  5. shawlie,
  6. shawn,
  7. shawnee,
  8. shawnees,
  9. shawwal,
  10. shay

Origin of shawm

1300–50; Middle English schalme < Middle French chaume < Latin calamus stalk, reed < Greek kálamos reed; replacing Middle English schallemele < Middle French chalemel (see chalumeau) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shawm

British Dictionary definitions for shawm


/ (ʃɔːm) /


music a medieval form of the oboe with a conical bore and flaring bell, blown through a double reed

Word Origin for shawm

C14 shalmye, from Old French chalemie, ultimately from Latin calamus a reed, from Greek kalamos

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 shawm



"medieval oboe-like instrument," mid-14c., schalmeis (plural), also schallemele (late 14c.), from Old French chalemie, chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus, literally "a small reed," diminutive of Latin calamus "reed," from Greek kalamos, from PIE *kole-mo- "grass, reed" (cf. Old English healm "straw," Latin culmus "stalk"). Mistaken as a plural and trimmed of its "-s" ending from mid-15c. Related: Shawmist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper