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

  • n. Music A high-pitched woodwind instrument consisting of a slender tube closed at one end with keys and finger holes on the side and an opening near the closed end across which the breath is blown. Also called transverse flute.
  • n. Music Any of various similar reedless woodwind instruments, such as the recorder.
  • n. Music An organ stop whose flue pipe produces a flutelike tone.
  • n. Architecture A long, usually rounded groove incised as a decorative motif on the shaft of a column, for example.
  • n. A similar groove or furrow, as in a pleated ruffle of cloth or on a piece of furniture.
  • n. A tall narrow wineglass, often used for champagne.
  • transitive v. Music To play (a tune) on a flute.
  • transitive v. To produce in a flutelike tone.
  • transitive v. To make flutes in (a column, for example).
  • intransitive v. Music To play a flute.
  • intransitive v. To sing, whistle, or speak with a flutelike tone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woodwind instrument consisting of a metal, wood or bamboo tube with a row of circular holes and played by blowing across a hole in the side of one end or through a narrow channel at one end against a sharp edge, while covering none, some or all of the holes with the fingers to vary the note played.
  • n. A glass with a long, narrow bowl and a long stem, used for drinking wine, especially champagne.
  • n. A helical groove going up a drill bit which allows the drilled out material to come up out of the hole as it's drilled.
  • n. A semicylindrical vertical groove in a pillar, or a similar groove in a rifle barrel used to cut down the weight.
  • v. To play on a flute.
  • v. To make a flutelike sound.
  • v. To utter with a flutelike sound.
  • v. To form flutes or channels in (as in a column, a ruffle, etc.); to cut a semicylindrical vertical groove in (as in a pillar, etc.).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A musical wind instrument, consisting of a hollow cylinder or pipe, with holes along its length, stopped by the fingers or by keys which are opened by the fingers. The modern flute is closed at the upper end, and blown with the mouth at a lateral hole.
  • n. A channel of curved section; -- usually applied to one of a vertical series of such channels used to decorate columns and pilasters in classical architecture. See Illust. under Base, n.
  • n. A similar channel or groove made in wood or other material, esp. in plaited cloth, as in a lady's ruffle.
  • n. A long French breakfast roll.
  • n. A stop in an organ, having a flutelike sound.
  • n. A kind of flyboat; a storeship.
  • intransitive v. To play on, or as on, a flute; to make a flutelike sound.
  • transitive v. To play, whistle, or sing with a clear, soft note, like that of a flute.
  • transitive v. To form flutes or channels in, as in a column, a ruffle, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To play on a flute; produce a soft, clear note like that of a flute.
  • To play or sing softly and clearly in notes resembling those of a flute.
  • To form flutes or grooves in, as in a ruffle. See gauffer.
  • n. In music, an instrument of the pipe kind, in which the tone is produced by the impact of a current of air upon the edge of a hole in the side of a tube. See pipe, fife.
  • n. Specifically— In ancient music, a direct flute with a conical wooden tube having a varying number of finger-holes. Sometimes two tubes were attached to one mouthpiece.
  • n. In medieval music, one of a family of direct flutes, comprising treble, alto, tenor, and bass varieties, all having conical wooden tubes with several finger-holes. The modern flageolet and the penny whistle are derivatives of the treble kind.
  • n. In modern music, a transverse flute, having a conical or cylindrical wooden or metal tube with holes controlled in part by levers, and having a compass of about three octaves upward from middle C: also called the German flute. The change from the medieval direct flutes took place early in the eighteenth century. The best model for orchestral use was invented by Theobald Boehm in 1832. The piccolo-flute or piccolo is a flute giving toues an octave higher than the ordinary flute.
  • n. In organ-building, a stop with stopped wooden pipes, having a flute-like tone, usually of four-foot pitch.
  • n. In architecture, one of a series of curved furrows, usually semicircular in plan, of which each is separated from the next by a narrow fillet.
  • n. A similar groove in any material, as in a woman's ruffle.
  • n. In decorative art, a concave depression relatively long and of any form, the sides not necessarily parallel. Compare gadroon.
  • n. A kind of long, thin French roll.
  • n. A shuttle used in tapestry-weaving. A separate shuttle is employed for each color of which the woof is composed.
  • n. A tall and very narrow wine-glass, used especially for sparkling wines. Also called flute-glass.
  • n. A long vessel or boat, with flat ribs or floor-timbers, round behind and swelling in the middle.
  • n. and The variety of names applied both to flutes proper and to fluty stops in the organ is very great. Thus the older direct flutes are also called straight, à-bec, or beaked: these were made in different sizes, with different fundamental tones, and were then distinguished as discant, alto, tenor, and bass flutes. The transverse flute is also called traverse flute, flute douce, flauto traverse, flute traversière, German flute, cross-flute, etc. In the modern orchestra, besides the standard flute in C, the smaller size, called the octave or piccolo flute, is used; but in military bands several varieties are found, as the terz or tierce flute, and the fourth or quart flute, the fundamental tones of which are , and F respectively. The old flute d'armour was an alto flute, its fundamental tone being A. Organ-stops of a fluty tone are of two kinds, with stopped or with open pipes and belonging properly to the stopped diapason and the open diapason classes respectively (see diapason). Unfortunately, most of the names used for these stops either have no fixed and recognized meaning or are purely fanciful.
  • n. In organ-building, a flue-stop with open metal pipes of narrow measure and penetrating tone.

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

  • n. a high-pitched woodwind instrument; a slender tube closed at one end with finger holes on one end and an opening near the closed end across which the breath is blown
  • v. form flutes in
  • n. a groove or furrow in cloth etc (particularly a shallow concave groove on the shaft of a column)
  • n. a tall narrow wineglass


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

Middle English floute, from Old French flaute, from Old Provençal flaüt, perhaps a blend of flaujol, flageolet (from Vulgar Latin *flābeolum; see flageolet) and laut, lute; see lute1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French flaute, from Provençal flaut, ultimately from three possibilities:



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

  • A tall narrow wineglass, often used for champagne.

    April 6, 2015