Definitions

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

  • noun A keyboard instrument whose strings are plucked by means of quills or plectrums.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A stringed musical instrument in use in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, which in its form and in the arrangement of the keyboard and strings resembled a piano, but in which the tone was produced by the plucking or snapping of the strings by leather or quill points, which were set in jacks connected by levers with the keys.

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

  • noun (Mus.) A harp-shaped instrument of music set horizontally on legs, like the grand piano, with strings of wire, played by the fingers, by means of keys provided with quills, instead of hammers, for striking the strings. It is now superseded by the piano.

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

  • noun music An instrument with a piano-like keyboard, which produces sound by plucking the strings

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

  • noun a clavier with strings that are plucked by plectra mounted on pivots

Etymologies

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

[Alteration of obsolete French harpechorde, from Italian arpicordo : arpa, harp (from Late Latin harpa, of Germanic origin) + corda, string (from Latin chorda, from Greek khordē; see gherə- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin harpicordium, from harpa ("harp") + corda ("string").

Examples

  • "The harpsichord was a wedding gift from a grateful employer, I suppose?"

    Ungrateful Governess

  • Over the harpsichord was a portrait of the Colonel himself, painted before she was born.

    A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill

  • But the mind was as clearly the result of the bodily organization as the music of the harpsichord is the result of the instrumental mechanism.

    A Strange Story — Volume 01

  • But the mind was as clearly the result of the bodily organization as the music of the harpsichord is the result of the instrumental mechanism.

    A Strange Story — Complete

  • The man who was born within an echo of the harpsichord was the most important inspiration and influence on the creation and development of the modern piano.

    NPR Topics: News

  • “I am very fond of books and music; my harpsichord was my delight.”

    The memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • Thus our heroine, though possessed of more philosophy than usually falls to the share of a young beauty, could not sometimes prevent the intrusion of uneasy reflections: upon these occasions her harpsichord was her general resource, and a lesson from some favourite composer would, at any time, reharmonize her mind.

    Caroline; or, the Diversities of Fortune

  • "I am very fond of books and music; my harpsichord was my delight."

    Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 04: Return to Venice

  • "I am very fond of books and music; my harpsichord was my delight."

    The Complete Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

  • As for the rest of the album, let me just point out that it's sad when a harpsichord is the only good thing about a song, as is the case in "Aleph."

    Metal Underground .com

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