the treble instrument of the family of modern bowed instruments, held nearly horizontal by the player's arm with the lower part supported against the collarbone or shoulder.
a violinist or part for a violin.

Origin of violin

1570–80; < Italian violino, equivalent to viol(a) (see viola1) + -ino diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for violin

fiddle, kit, Stradivarius, amati, pochette

Examples from the Web for violin

Contemporary Examples of violin

Historical Examples of violin

  • The lame girl who played the violin limped down the corridor into the ward.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The violin and piano are excellent, but on some accounts the hand-organ is the best of all.

  • I am a musician—I play the violin on a boat till I strike—so now I will get you the music.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Mr. Beckendorff had his violin in his hand, but his dress was much changed.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • I almost yelled, dashing wildly into my room to wash my hands and get my violin.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for violin



a bowed stringed instrument, the highest member of the violin family, consisting of a fingerboard, a hollow wooden body with waisted sides, and a sounding board connected to the back by means of a soundpost that also supports the bridge. It has two f-shaped sound holes cut in the belly. The instrument, noted for its fine and flexible tone, is the most important of the stringed instruments. It is held under the chin when played. Range: roughly three and a half octaves upwards from G below middle C

Word Origin for violin

C16: from Italian violino a little viola, from viola 1
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 violin

1570s, from Italian violino, diminutive of viola (see viola).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

violin in Culture


The most familiar and highest-pitched instrument of the strings. A typical symphony orchestra has more than two dozen violinists.

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.