from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A musical instrument fitted with steam whistles, played from a keyboard.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Gr. Myth., the muse who presided over eloquence and heroic poetry. Also spelled Kalliope.
  • noun [lowercase] The name given to a harsh musical instrument consisting of a number of steam-whistles tuned to produce different tones. Also called steam-organ.
  • noun [NL.] In ornithology: A genus of small sylviine birds, related to Cyanecula, the type of which is an Asiatic warbler, Calliope kamchatkensis. Gould, 1836, The term had previously been the specific name of the same bird.
  • noun [lowercase] The specific name of a humming-bird, Stellula calliope, inhabiting the western United States and Mexico, having the crown and back golden-green, the gorget violet and lilac, set in snowy-white.
  • noun A genus of mammals.
  • noun A genus of dipterous insects.
  • noun A genus of amphipods.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Class. Myth.) The Muse that presides over eloquence and heroic poetry; mother of Orpheus, and chief of the nine Muses.
  • noun (Astron.) One of the asteroids. See Solar.
  • noun A musical instrument consisting of a series of steam whistles, toned to the notes of the scale, and played by keys arranged like those of an organ. It is sometimes attached to steamboat boilers.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A beautiful species of humming bird (Stellula Calliope) of California and adjacent regions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A musical organ, consisting of steam whistles played with a keyboard. Often used with merry-go-rounds.

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

  • noun a musical instrument consisting of a series of steam whistles played from a keyboard
  • noun (Greek mythology) the Muse of epic poetry


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

[From Calliope.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Ancient Greek Καλλιόπη (Kalliopē, "Calliope, the muse of poetry"), from καλός (kalos, "beautiful") + ὄψ (ops, "voice").


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  • Makes me think of carousels. I'm not sure why.

    April 11, 2008

  • Lots of carousels come with calliope that it?

    April 11, 2008

  • I don't think that's it, reesetee, because that connection didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it. :) I think it's the way the word feels when I say it, if that makes any sense? It... moves like a carousel, is the best way I can think of to put it.

    April 13, 2008

  • It does indeed--good way to describe it!

    April 14, 2008

  • My inner classicist is wincing right now.

    April 22, 2010

  • An interlacing of CLIP + ALOE.

    September 6, 2010

  • The carousel's very silence, its flashing lights and steamy calliope music stilled forever, gave Jake a chill." From Wizard and Glass by Stephen King.

    January 19, 2011

  • 'Against the summer night the ferris wheel lights winked with the gaiety of rhinestones, the calliope's blast sounded as if the very steam pipes were tired.'

    June 30, 2012