noun, plural the·or·bos.

an obsolete bass lute with two sets of strings attached to separate peg boxes, one above the other, on the neck.

Origin of theorbo

1595–1605; < Italian teorba, variant of tiorba, special use of Venetian tiorba, variant of tuorba traveling bag ≪ Turkish torba bag; so called from the bag it was carried in
Related formsthe·or·bist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for theorbo

Historical Examples of theorbo

  • She was aught drawing, singing, and to play on the theorbo; had learning, and wrote very agreeable verses.

  • And every night the player of the theorbo left the wall, approached him, and spoke in a clear voice mingled with soft breathing.


    Anatole France

  • At noon played on my Theorbo, and much pleased therewith; it is now altered with a new neck.

  • I had a good dinner for them, as a venison pasty and some fowl, and after dinner we did play, he on the theorbo.

  • On a table with curved legs placed in the embrasure of the window lay a lute, a theorbo, and some pieces of unfinished tapestry.

British Dictionary definitions for theorbo


noun plural -bos

music an obsolete form of the lute, having two necks, one above the other, the second neck carrying a set of unstopped sympathetic bass strings
Derived Formstheorbist, noun

Word Origin for theorbo

C17: from Italian teorba, probably from Venetian, variant of tuorba travelling bag, ultimately from Turkish torba bag
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