a musical instrument consisting of a graduated series of wooden bars, usually sounded by striking with small wooden hammers.

Origin of xylophone

First recorded in 1865–70; xylo- + -phone
Related formsxy·lo·phon·ic [zahy-luh-fon-ik] /ˌzaɪ ləˈfɒn ɪk/, adjectivexy·lo·phon·ist [zahy-luh-foh-nist, zahy-lof-uh-nist, zi-] /ˈzaɪ ləˌfoʊ nɪst, zaɪˈlɒf ə nɪst, zɪ-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for xylophone

carillon, vibraphone, marimba

Examples from the Web for xylophone

Contemporary Examples of xylophone

  • After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves--modern dance and the xylophone.

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    Laura Ingraham Temporarily Off-Air

    David Frum

    November 27, 2012

  • My ribs are like a xylophone, and the knobs of my spine stick up like ponderous cairns in the landscape of my back.

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    Live Nude Girl Bares All

    Lizzie Stark

    February 20, 2009

Historical Examples of xylophone

British Dictionary definitions for xylophone



music a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars of graduated length. It is played with hard-headed hammers
Derived Formsxylophonic (ˌzaɪləˈfɒnɪk), adjectivexylophonist (zaɪˈlɒfənɪst), noun

Word Origin for xylophone

C19: from xylo- + -phone
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 xylophone

1866, coined from Greek xylon "wood" + phone "a sound" (see fame (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper