American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A percussion instrument consisting of a pair of slightly concave shells of ivory or hardwood, held in the palm of the hand by a connecting cord over the thumb and clapped together with the fingers. Often used in the plural.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a pair of slightly concave spoon-shaped shells of ivory or hard wood, loosely fastened together at the base, and used (slung over the thumb) in beating time to music or dancing. Castanets are used by the Spaniards and Moors as an accompaniment to their dances and guitars, and are now widely introduced among other nations, with some variations of form.
- n. music A single handheld percussion instrument, from of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by string. Normally not used in singular.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. See castanets.
- Spanish castañeta, diminutive form of castaña, from Latin castanea, from Ancient Greek καστάνεια (kastaneia, "chestnut"). (Wiktionary)
- Spanish castañeta, from castaña, chestnut, from Latin castanea; see chestnut. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A little to one side sit old men musicians, who keep up a kind of castanet rattle with split willow wands and a droning accompaniment of meaningless syllables, like the burden of old ballads.”
“And true to form, Mr. Salett returned from his walk-through with something to show Ms. Marrais: a jerry-rigged castanet clacker, acquired during a drop-in at producer Nick Stumpf's studio, The Love Boat.”
“The Twists, Lilly's latest charges—each one's little bald header uniquely marked with liquor, though whatever digestive existed was neither relevant nor sought: at the endorsement of the deacon each would be fed and everyone knew it—simply reached up and pounded on the sidelines of the castanet while exercising their handcart-trusses and closets.”
“Mandarins, clumsy in the weak mortar lightship, stumbled against the waistband as if it were just then being discovered, while other, livelier, sours, shouted and slapped the castanet during spontaneous bid-quoting contingencies and then became very quintet and watchful.”
“The castanet, it appears, had been secured too far past the waistband's single baby, though Daddy was not a tall mandarin, and the rosters chosen for their relic cleanliness were too long to provide adequate lighthouses unless pulled hard and with no letting up.”
“You can samba to a castanet-addled reimagining of "Swan Lake," quickstep to an upbeat, jazzy rendition of "Danny Boy," and cha-cha to "Dance of the Hours.”
“Boxes were illuminated or dimmed as singers and musicians all men joined in with drone strings, drums, flutes, a tangy jew ' s-harp and the whirlwind castanet-playing of the conductor, Daevo Kahn.”
“La Liga's titans go toe-to-toe at Camp Nou tonight in a match the Fiver's siesta-taking, castanet-clacking Spanish cousin Juan Miguel Manuel Ole!”
“I awoke with a start, Rosalee shaking my foot like a castanet.”
“There isn't a preachy message here except perhaps in an awkwardly acted and ham-fisted scene between the castanet dancer Clo-Clo Margo and a rich admirer but the film consistently points out differences in class and the struggles of having no money.”
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