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

  • n. Music A small rectangular instrument consisting of a row of free reeds set back in air holes, played by exhaling or inhaling. Also called mouth harp, mouth organ; also called regionally French harp.
  • n. Music A glass harmonica.
  • n. Music An instrument consisting of tuned strips of metal or glass fixed to a frame and struck with a hammer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a musical wind instrument with a series of holes for the player to blow into, each hole producing a different note
  • n. a musical instrument, consisting of a series of hemispherical glasses which, by touching the edges with the dampened finger, give forth the tones.
  • n. a toy instrument of strips of glass or metal hung on two tapes, and struck with hammers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A musical instrument, consisting of a series of hemispherical glasses which, by touching the edges with the dampened finger, give forth the tones; it is now called the glass harmonica, to distinguish it from the common harmonica, formerly called the harmonicon.
  • n. A toy instrument of strips of glass or metal hung on two tapes, and struck with hammers.
  • n. A small wind musical instrument shaped like a flat bar with holes along the thin edges, held in the hand and producing notes from multiple vibrating reeds arranged inside along its length; it was formerly called the harmonicon. See harmonicon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as musical glasses (which see, under glass).
  • n. A musical toy consisting of a set of small metallic reeds so mounted in a case that they may be played by the breath, certain tones being produced by expiration, others by inhalation. Also called harmonicon.
  • n. In organ-building, a mixturestop.

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

  • n. a small rectangular free-reed instrument having a row of free reeds set back in air holes and played by blowing into the desired hole


Alteration of obsolete armonica, glass harmonica, from Italian, feminine of armonico, harmonious, from Latin harmonicus, harmonic; see harmonic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Clutch played beefy, beery blues-rock, with vintage guitar riffs and growly vocals upholstered in harmonica and organ.

    Bonnaroo: Beery Blues-rock and Jazz Anarchy - ArtsBeat Blog -

  • With its compact design, the rugged, industry standard IP 20 model is also compatible for mating with multiport 'harmonica'-style RJ 45 jacks.

    Electronicstalk - electronics industry news

  • But Andrew had never thought the harmonica was a toy.

    Yolonda's Genius

  • The harmonica is a staple of American blues, beginning with the Memphis jug bands of the 1920s.

    NPR Topics: News

  • The personnel shifted but over the years included some of the finest names in jazz including Cal Tjader and Gary Burton on vibes and Joe Pass and Toots Thielemans on guitar though Thielemans was better known as a harmonica player. - News

  • MUSIC 101 It has been said "a harmonica is the world's greatest musical instrument." - Business News

  • He calls harmonica player Frédéric Yonnet up to blow through the Rolling Stones '"Miss You," following a tough, sexy groove as Prince announces: "Come on out on the dancefloor, come on!"

    Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily

  • Dylan, a longtime Hohner player, will receive a royalty on the sale of the harmonica, which is expected to sell around 10,000 units this year.

    Expecting Rain

  • When McCarthyism was at its peak, Hefner booked blacklisted performers such as harmonica virtuoso Larry Addler and singer Josh White.

    CTV BritishColumbiaHome

  • Just because the harmonica is a small instrument frequently heard in folk and pop music doesn’t mean it shouldn’t appear on the orchestral stage, and harmonica player Robert Bonfiglio, the guest artist for Tuesday’s Waco Symphony Orchestra concert, is quick to make his case.

    wacotrib - Latest News Headlines


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  • Wound Lewinsky?

    October 12, 2009

  • Enough applause from frogs?

    September 18, 2008

  • Cucumber sandwich parties.

    September 18, 2008

  • I like to pretend. What else don't bilbies have that I can have fun pretending about? :-)

    September 18, 2008

  • *pretends bilbies have eyebrows, and raises one*

    September 18, 2008

  • Well, okay. I threatened to.

    September 18, 2008

  • Gangerh, I suspect she's not kidding. ;->

    September 18, 2008

  • HAHAHA, c_b! I love that comment.

    September 18, 2008

  • I applaud yarb's parenting strategy. I regularly rented my spawn out to the circus from the age of six.

    September 18, 2008

  • Plus, it's easy to learn the basics. I mean you can be playing like Bob Dylan in literally five minutes!

    September 18, 2008

  • A harmonica is a really good first instrument because it's possible to make so many cool, crazy sounds so easily. I had one when I was about 6 and I remember giggling because I would breathe in-out through it, thus making my breath musically filtered.

    September 18, 2008

  • It's going to be a third birthday present.

    When she reaches the age of six she will be turned out of the home to make her way on the blues club circuit.

    I love the idea of a toddler-sized grand piano! A baby-baby-grand.

    September 18, 2008

  • Aw! How old is she? My partner has a 3 year old (thus making me fatheresque) and she has this little pink, plastic, toddler-sized grand piano that she loves...

    September 18, 2008

  • I just bought my daughter her first harmonica.

    September 18, 2008

  • So tell us, WeirdNet: Are the reeds free?

    July 3, 2008