from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as viol.
  • noun 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
  • noun 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.
  • noun A genus of plants, type of the order Violarieæ and tribe Violeæ, including the pansies and violets.

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

  • noun (Mus.) An instrument in form and use resembling the violin, but larger, and a fifth lower in compass.
  • noun the tenor viol, or viola, a fifth lower than the violin. Its part is written in the alto clef, hence it is sometimes called the alto.
  • noun an instrument resembling the viola, but larger, and held between the knees. It is now rarely used.
  • noun an instrument formerly used, resembling the viola, and intermediate in size between the viola and the viola da gamba.
  • noun a viol, larger than the viola, having catgut strings upon, and brass or steel wires under, the keyboard. These, sounding sympathetically with the strings, yield a peculiarly soft and silvery sound. It is now seldom used.
  • noun (Bot.) A genus of polypetalous herbaceous plants, including all kinds of violets.

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

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

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

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


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • 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

  • 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

  • "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

  • "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