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

  • n. Any of various early double-reed wind instruments, forerunners of the modern oboe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a mediaeval double reed wind instrument with conical wooden body

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A wind instrument of music, formerly in use, supposed to have resembled either the clarinet or the hautboy in form.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A musical instrument of the oboe class, having a double reed inclosed in a globular mouthpiece.

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

  • n. a medieval oboe


Middle English schalme, from Old French chalemie, alteration of chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus, diminutive of Latin calamus, reed, from Greek kalamos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French chalemel (French chalumeau), from Latin calamus ("reed"), from Greek καλαμος. (Wiktionary)


  • "shawm" was a musical instrument resembling the clarinet.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • Musicians entertained from the gallery above the kings, offering delicate love songs and lively tunes on harp, lute, and shawm.

    The Tudors: King Takes Queen

  • I think he also plays the crummhorn, or maybe the shawm.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Wherever Kahlan went, she could hear pipes and drums, or the piercing notes of a shawm, or the melodic chords of strings.

    Men Don't Leave Me

  • The painting portrays Renaissance instruments with great accuracy: a tenor or alto shawm, a precursor of the English horn; a Gothic harp; a brass trumpet; a portative organ; a vielle, an early form of violin; a soprano or treble shawm, a distant forerunner of the oboe; a lute; three recorders; a dulcimer being struck by a light hammer; and a harp.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • I actually wanted to use shawm in the bridging piece, but I don't seem to have one easily to hand -- then again, my organization being what it is, I may have half a dozen sampled shawms and just be clueless.

    Moving right along

  • Huge-headdressed Beijing opera singers twirling their long sleeves while a guy dressed as a monkey bounces around the stage eating a peach, accompanied by hella loud gongs and a blaring shawm?

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • A sackbut is a brass horn that looks alot like a trombone with a slightly smaller bell, and a shawm is a double reed instrument that is a predecessor to the oboe.

    Calling all Brits - The Panda's Thumb

  • Like a shawm for holy masses or the wind through garden grasses, prayer of the saints now passes through angelic harmonies.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • He watched her coming up the road, his finger tapping against his bent knee as the shawm played a bouncy tune Fitch knew, called "Round the Well and Back," about a man chasing a woman he loved, but who always ignored him. the man finally had enough and chased her in the song until he caught her.

    Soul of the Fire

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  • A buzzing like angry bees aswarm
    Infects the melodious storm.
    Amid lilting lutes
    And tootling flutes
    It's the homely bray of the shawm.

    See also sackbut.

    August 12, 2014

  • "After a little while he no longer heard the drums, the lutes, the flutes (or shawms) as concert, or as any kind of music."
    Don Juan: His Own Version by Peter Handke, translated by Krishna Winston, p 56

    April 14, 2010

  • Plus, the shawm is famous for its anti-zombie powers, as evidenced by the cult hit film "Shawm of the Dead".

    March 25, 2008

  • "... all in a stifling atmosphere, with people playing shawms outside to prevent the possibility of eavesdropping—shawms in no key known to him or range of intervals..."
    --P. O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 138–139

    March 25, 2008

  • "Once before he had paused, and love with its horrid rout, its shawms, its cymbals, and its heads with gory locks torn from the shoulders had burst in."

    - Orlando, Virginia Woolf.

    February 5, 2008