Definitions

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

  • n. A stringed instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower, and having a deeper, more sonorous tone.
  • n. An organ stop usually of eight-foot or four-foot pitch yielding stringlike tones.
  • n. A plant of the genus Viola, which includes the violets and pansies, especially a variety having flowers resembling violets in size and shape and pansies in coloration.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stringed instrument of the violin family, somewhat larger than a violin, played under the chin, and having a deeper tone
  • n. An organ stop having a similar tone
  • n. A 10-string steel-string acoustic guitar, used in Brazilian folk music.
  • n. Any of several flowering plants, of the genus Viola, including the violets and pansies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of polypetalous herbaceous plants, including all kinds of violets.
  • n. An instrument in form and use resembling the violin, but larger, and a fifth lower in compass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as viol.
  • n. Specifically,in modern usage, the large violin, properly the alto violin, though generally called the tenor, in size about one seventh larger than the violin
  • n. In organ-building, a stop with metal pipes of narrow scale and ears on the sides of the mouths, giving tones of a penetrating, string-like quality.
  • n. A genus of plants, type of the order Violarieæ and tribe Violeæ, including the pansies and violets.

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

  • n. any of the numerous plants of the genus Viola
  • n. a bowed stringed instrument slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower
  • n. large genus of flowering herbs of temperate regions

Etymologies

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

Italian, from Old Provençal, viola, probably of imitative origin.
Middle English, from Latin.

Examples

Comments

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  • "In organ-building, a stop with metal pipes of narrow scale and ears on the sides of the mouths, giving tones of a penetrating, string-like quality." --CD

    April 14, 2011

  • "Its tone is not so brilliant or varied as that of the violin, though susceptible of a peculiar pathetic quality under the hand of a good player..."

    April 14, 2011

  • Also a plant--in fact, the name of a genus of plants. The johnny-jump-up is a member of the genus viola. Pronounced vie-OH-la

    July 16, 2007

  • A musical instrument of the string family, producing a pitch lower than that of a violin and higher than that of a cello. Pronounced "vee OH la." Completely and entirely different from voila.

    May 30, 2007