Definitions

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

  • n. A small terra-cotta or plastic wind instrument with finger holes, a mouthpiece, and an elongated ovoid shape.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woodwind musical instrument that is closed at both sides to produce an enclosed space, and punctured with finger holes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of small simple wind instrument.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A musical instrument, hardly more than a toy, consisting of a fancifully shaped terra-cotta body with a whistle-like mouthpiece and a number of finger-holes. Several different sizes or varieties are made. The tone is soft, but sonorous.

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

  • n. egg-shaped terra cotta wind instrument with a mouthpiece and finger holes

Etymologies

Italian, from dialectal ucarenna, diminutive of Italian oca, goose (from the fact that its mouthpiece is shaped like a goose's beak), from Vulgar Latin *auca, from *avica, from Latin avis, bird.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowed from Italian ocarina, literally “little goose”, due to the musical instrument’s resemblance to the animal. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "It was one evening with the rain running in rivers that we cooked up a tune. From somewhere I had obtained an ocarina, and with Edgington banging on a box of matches we gradually bring the tune to life. The lyrics were:
    The Rhumba
    Roca-manfina Rhumba
    It's a snappy little number
    Roca-mana-fina way.

    Caramba!
    All the natives say Caramba.
    Rocamanafina Rhumba
    Rocamanafina way.
    "
    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall'.

    April 25, 2009

  • That iPhone app isn't just amusing. It's bloody brilliant. Check it out: it actually responds to breath and articulation. It's a work of genius.

    I almost wish I owned an iPhone.

    November 10, 2008

  • I like the broccoli ocarina (broccarina?) — cf. YouTube.

    I do have a completed make-it-yourself one in lovely orange cardboard. And can play jigs on it.

    November 10, 2008

  • An ocarina is mentioned in a scene of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

    November 10, 2008

  • The funnest iPhone app ever!!!

    November 10, 2008

  • ocarina n, a simple wind instrument typically having an oval body with finger holes and a projecting mouthpiece

    January 8, 2008