Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A 16th-century guitar with a flat, pear-shaped body.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stringed instrument similar to a mandolin which is an early form of guitar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument shaped like a lute, but strung with wire and played with a quill or plectrum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See cithern.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a 16th century musical instrument resembling a guitar with a pear-shaped soundbox and wire strings

Etymologies

Perhaps blend of Latin cithara, cithara; see cithara, and obsolete English gittern (from Middle English, from Old French guiterne, from Latin cithara).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of cither and gittern. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • At Gubbio, the cittern is depicted alongside the architect's set square/level, the hourglass, and divider, and directly beneath the term ingenioq, implying that one's natural talent (s) should be guided by discipline and right pleasure. back

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • "The Council regrets, we cannot permit you to sell this ... 'cittern' here."

    The Outstretched Shadow

  • "The Council regrets, we cannot permit you to sell this" 'cittern' here."

    Tran Siberian

  • "I am certain that this 'cittern' is a lovely instrument, cherished in your homeland.

    The Outstretched Shadow

  • His guitar may be a crutch but is an awfully artful one, akin to a medieval minstrel's cittern accompanying a sung ballad.

    Poet, Prophet and Puzzle

  • Associated with Venus as well as Terpsichore, the cittern was strung with metal wire to ensure reliable tuning for impromptu use. 247 With their wood paneling, one can imagine that the studioli offer resonant settings for listening to music, which should be counted among the duke's activities in the Urbino studiolo.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • Urania is represented by the armillary sphere, Euterpe by flutes, Thalia by the rebec, Melpomene by the hunting horn, Terpsichore by the cittern, Erato by the jingle ring, and Polyhymnia by the organ.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • Consistent with Ficino's recommendations, a drawing by Carpaccio suggests that many (if not all) of the instruments represented in the studioli were likely performed therein, including those instruments bearing connotations of the "music of the spheres," such as the clavichord, organ, and lute. 246 Other instruments, like the cittern found at Gubbio, were as readily available in a tavern as in a princely studiolo.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • The cittern appeared to Lycaelon's eyes like some sort of giant, misshapen lute-flat on both sides, its sound box pulled into a sort of peculiar sand-glass shape.

    Tran Siberian

  • A musician himself, playing fiddle, mandolin and cittern with various bands, he was a driving force in the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the South Riding Folk Arts Network and was responsible for republishing the songbooks English Classical Folk Songs (2003) and Marrow Bones (2007).

    Malcolm Douglas [J. T. Dogg] (1954-2009)

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