Definitions

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

  • n. A Japanese musical instrument similar to a zither, having usually 13, but sometimes as few as 1 or as many as 17, silk strings stretched over an oblong box.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a Japanese stringed instrument having numerous strings, usually seven or thirteen, that are stretched over a convex wooden sounding board and are plucked with three plectra, worn on the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of one hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Japanese musical instrument, consisting of a long box over which are stretched thirteen strings of silk, each five feet in length and provided with a separate bridge. It is played with both hands, like the harp. The tuning is effected by shifting the position of the bridge, and semitones are obtained by pressing the string behind the bridge.

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

  • n. Japanese stringed instrument that resembles a zither; has a rectangular wooden sounding board and usually 13 silk strings that are plucked with the fingers

Etymologies

Japanese.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese  (koto). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Young men who are unskilled in koto or fué [harp or flute] amuse themselves with tonearasoi 1 and imayo, 2 and at such a time this is entertaining.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • 2 A koto is called a horizontal harp, but it consists of a number of strings stretched the length of the instrument, the scale made by an arrangement of bridges placed under the strings, and played upon by four ivory keys worn on the four fingers of the right hand.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • The koto is a large thirteen-stringed lute that rests on the floor when played.

    Geisha, A Life

  • They were obtained by playing a stringed instrument called koto, by standing at a cross-street and watching the passers, by manipulating stones, and by counting footsteps.

    A History of the Japanese People From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era

  • It is called the koto-ita, and is one of the most primitive of musical instruments; the little sticks are used to strike it.

    Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan First Series

  • Yamazaki also brought a miniature version of the traditional Japanese harp, known as a koto, to the station to play an ensemble with her countryman Soichi Noguchi, who has carried his Japanese flute to the station.

    Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

  • Short Synopsis: Natsume gets visited (read: possessed) by a youkai who used to play a traditional Japanese instrument called the "koto".

    Anime Nano!

  • (I was recently asked off-site if my name has a meaning and so, to provide some useless trivia, although the hiragana "ことみ" has no meaning per se, my name is derived from the kanji "koto" (異) and "mi" (美) and can be translated as "uncommon beauty".

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • (I was recently asked off-site if my name has a meaning and so, to provide some useless trivia, although the hiragana "ことみ" has no meaning per se, my name is derived from the kanji "koto" (異) and "mi"

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • The dancers' bodies trace the physical evolution of Tezuka's cartoons while Sawhney's score builds up complex narrative music out of simple sounds, percussion and Japanese koto.

    This week's new theatre and dance

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