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

  • n. Any of various early double-reed wind instruments, forerunners of the modern oboe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a mediaeval double reed wind instrument with conical wooden body

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A wind instrument of music, formerly in use, supposed to have resembled either the clarinet or the hautboy in form.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A musical instrument of the oboe class, having a double reed inclosed in a globular mouthpiece.

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

  • n. a medieval oboe


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

Middle English schalme, from Old French chalemie, alteration of chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus, diminutive of Latin calamus, reed, from Greek kalamos.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French chalemel (French chalumeau), from Latin calamus ("reed"), from Greek καλαμος.


  • "shawm" was a musical instrument resembling the clarinet.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • Musicians entertained from the gallery above the kings, offering delicate love songs and lively tunes on harp, lute, and shawm.

    The Tudors: King Takes Queen

  • I think he also plays the crummhorn, or maybe the shawm.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Wherever Kahlan went, she could hear pipes and drums, or the piercing notes of a shawm, or the melodic chords of strings.

    Men Don't Leave Me

  • The painting portrays Renaissance instruments with great accuracy: a tenor or alto shawm, a precursor of the English horn; a Gothic harp; a brass trumpet; a portative organ; a vielle, an early form of violin; a soprano or treble shawm, a distant forerunner of the oboe; a lute; three recorders; a dulcimer being struck by a light hammer; and a harp.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • I actually wanted to use shawm in the bridging piece, but I don't seem to have one easily to hand -- then again, my organization being what it is, I may have half a dozen sampled shawms and just be clueless.

    Moving right along

  • Huge-headdressed Beijing opera singers twirling their long sleeves while a guy dressed as a monkey bounces around the stage eating a peach, accompanied by hella loud gongs and a blaring shawm?

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • A sackbut is a brass horn that looks alot like a trombone with a slightly smaller bell, and a shawm is a double reed instrument that is a predecessor to the oboe.

    Calling all Brits - The Panda's Thumb

  • Like a shawm for holy masses or the wind through garden grasses, prayer of the saints now passes through angelic harmonies.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • He watched her coming up the road, his finger tapping against his bent knee as the shawm played a bouncy tune Fitch knew, called "Round the Well and Back," about a man chasing a woman he loved, but who always ignored him. the man finally had enough and chased her in the song until he caught her.

    Soul of the Fire


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  • A buzzing like angry bees aswarm
    Infects the melodious storm.
    Amid lilting lutes
    And tootling flutes
    It's the homely bray of the shawm.

    See also sackbut.

    August 12, 2014

  • "After a little while he no longer heard the drums, the lutes, the flutes (or shawms) as concert, or as any kind of music."

    Don Juan: His Own Version by Peter Handke, translated by Krishna Winston, p 56

    April 14, 2010

  • Plus, the shawm is famous for its anti-zombie powers, as evidenced by the cult hit film "Shawm of the Dead".

    March 25, 2008

  • "... all in a stifling atmosphere, with people playing shawms outside to prevent the possibility of eavesdropping—shawms in no key known to him or range of intervals..."

    --P. O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 138–139

    March 25, 2008

  • "Once before he had paused, and love with its horrid rout, its shawms, its cymbals, and its heads with gory locks torn from the shoulders had burst in."

    - Orlando, Virginia Woolf.

    February 5, 2008