Definitions

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

  • noun plural A set of tunable kettledrums typically used in the percussion section of a symphony orchestra.

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

  • noun plurale tantum, music The set of precision kettledrums in an orchestra.

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

  • noun a large hemispherical brass or copper percussion instrument with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting the tension on it

Etymologies

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

[Italian, pl. of timpano, kettledrum, from Latin tympanum, drum; see tympanum.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from Italian timpani, plural of timpano ("drum"), from Ancient Greek τύμπανον (tumpanon), from τύπτω (tuptō, "I strike, I hit").

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