American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A stringed instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower, and having a deeper, more sonorous tone.
- n. An organ stop usually of eight-foot or four-foot pitch yielding stringlike tones.
- n. A plant of the genus Viola, which includes the violets and pansies, especially a variety having flowers resembling violets in size and shape and pansies in coloration.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Same as viol.
- n. Specifically,in modern usage, the large violin, properly the alto violin, though generally called the tenor, in size about one seventh larger than the violin It is provided with four strings tuned in fifths, thus: A, D, G, and C (next below middle C), the two lower strings being wound with silver wire. The viola was probably the first member of the modern string quartet to be developed. Its tone is not so brilliant or varied as that of the violin, though susceptible of a peculiar pathetic quality under the hand of a good player, while in concerted music it is highly elfective. Music for the viola is usually written in the alto clef. Also called alto, tenor, bratsche, quint, and taille.
- n. In organ-building, a stop with metal pipes of narrow scale and ears on the sides of the mouths, giving tones of a penetrating, string-like quality.
- n. A genus of plants, type of order Violarieæ and tribe Violeæ, including the pansies and violets. It is characterized by flowers with nearly equal sepals, these and the lower petal both prolonged at the base, the latter into a spur or sac, and by an ovoid or globose three-valved capsule with roundish seeds. Over 250 species have been enumerated, perhaps to be reduced to 150). They are herbs or undershrubs with alternate leaves, persistent stipules, and axillary peduncles. The north temperate species are typically, as in
V. odorata, delicate plants of moist shady banks, with rounded cremite leaves on long angular stalks, solitary nodding violet-colored flowers, five orange-yellow anthers forming a central cone, and ovate capsules which open elastically into three boat-like persistent horizontal valves. The stipules are usually conspicuous, often large and leaf-like, in V. tricolor, the pansy, deeply pinnatifid and often larger than the leaves. (see first cut under leaf.) The leaves are of various forms, as cordate, arrow-shaped, lanceolate, rotundate, pedate, etc. The peduncles often bear two flowers, as in V. biflora, the twin-flowered violet, a saxicole species with brilliant golden-yellow flowers, found from the Alps to Cashmere and in the Rocky Mountains. The petals are colored, most often in shades of bluish-purple, white, or yellow, frequently penciled with dark-blue or purple lines. In some species they are of several colors, as in V. pedata, var. bicolor, the pansy-violet, or velvet violet, and in V. tricolor, which in its wild state, the heart's-ease, combines purple, yellow, and blue. Many species are dimorphous in their flowers, producing through summer minute apetalous ones which are more fertile and are self-fertilized, a fact first observed by Linnæus in the small mountain species V. mirabilis. In some, as V. Chamissoniana, the common Hawaiian violet, the later flowers, though minute, are well developed and petal-bearing. There are 22 species in Canada and over 30 in the United States, of which 17, besides 2 or 3 introduced, occur in the Northeastern States, and 16 in the Southern, where they diminish southward, only 4 extending into Texas. The native American species are distinguished into two groups, the stemless violets, chiefly eastern or central, as V. palmata, in which the long-stalked leaves are clustered at the top of a thick fleshy rhizome, which also bears the numerous distinct leafless scapes; and the leafy-stemmed species, as V. canina and V. striata, with spreading or somewhat erect stems bearing numerous leaves, usually on shorter petioles (see cut under violet). Several species produce long runners, as V. blanda, the sweet white violet; V. Canadensis, the largest, reaches sometimes 2 feet high; and V. pedata, the largest-flowered, has the flowers sometimes nearly 2 inches across. The 13 Californian species arc chiefly leafy-stemmed, showy, quite local, and peculiar in their yellow flowers with purple veins and brown backs: V. pedunculata, the common species, grows in clustered colonies, with flowers often an inch and a half across; V. ocellata of the Mendocino forests is remarkable for its purple spots. V. Langsdorffii is abundant on the Aleutian Islands, and the genus extends north to Kotzebue Sound. The British species are 6, of which V. odorata, also occurring from central Europe to Sweden, Siberia, and Cashmere, is the sweet or English violet, often doubled, and called tea-violetin cultivation; and V. canina is the dog- or hedgeviolet, without odor, but graceful in form, imparting much of the beauty of spring to English mountain districts. There are 56 species in Europe, over 20 in China, of which V. Patrinii is the most common, and 11 in the mountains of India. In the southern hemisphere, where the species are usually shrubby, there are over 30 in the mountains of South America, elsewhere few, 4 in Australia, of which the chief is V. hederacea, 2 in New Zealand, and 2 in Cape Colony. Five peculiar species occur in the Hawaiian Islands, of which V. robusta produces a woody stem sometimes 5 feet high, and V. helioscopia a large snow-white waxy flower sometimes 2 inches across. A few somewhat shrubby species occur northward, as V. arborescens. the tree-violet. V. scandens of Peru is a climbing and V. arguta a twining shrub: V. decumbens of Cape Colony, a much-branched procumbent shrub; V. filicaulis of New Zealand, a smooth, slender mountain-creeper. The pansy and other species are of some medicinal use. For V. tricolor, see pansy and heart's-ease(its small form is known in the United States as Johnny-jump-up and lady's-delight). For other species, see violet.
- n. music A stringed instrument of the violin family, somewhat larger than a violin, played under the chin, and having a deeper tone
- n. music An organ stop having a similar tone
- n. music A 10-string steel-string acoustic guitar, used in Brazilian folk music.
- n. botany Any of several flowering plants, of the genus Viola, including the violets and pansies.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A genus of polypetalous herbaceous plants, including all kinds of violets.
- n. (Mus.) An instrument in form and use resembling the violin, but larger, and a fifth lower in compass.
- n. any of the numerous plants of the genus Viola
- n. a bowed stringed instrument slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower
- n. large genus of flowering herbs of temperate regions
- Italian, from Old Provençal, viola, probably of imitative origin.Middle English, from Latin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Where it says author=*firstname*+*lastname* put your name viola! all your books listed for you to someone looking to buy.”
“Victor Borge said that the only difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.”
“When I woke up, I called the viola player/composer Max Savikangas and said these words to him.”
“But, truthfully, I don’t think the viola is a bluegrass instrument.”
“Well, that's how I feel about Jordi Savall, who - he's a guy, actually, who's best known for playing this antiquated, old instrument called the viola da gamba, the precursor to our modern-day cello.”
“Yesterday, the viola was the instrument I heard more than usual, and it was lovely, full, warm, and balanced with the others.”
“We agreed that the viola is the more full-bodied of the two instruments.”
“He acted like confusing a violin and a viola was the stupidest thing a person could do.”
“The viola is a ghost, grainy-brown, translucent, sighing in and out of the other Voices.”
“When Sally said she wished her viola was a Strad, Mr. Bradshaw's mind shortly became conscious that some passing spook, of a low nature, had murmured almost inaudibly that it was a good job _his_ Strad wasn't”
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