noun \ˈzi-thər, -thər\

: a musical instrument that has strings stretched across a shallow wooden box and that is played with your fingers or a pick

Full Definition of ZITHER

:  a stringed instrument having usually 30 to 40 strings over a shallow horizontal soundboard and played with pick and fingers
zith·er·ist \-thə-rist, -thə-\ noun

Illustration of ZITHER

Origin of ZITHER

German, from Old High German zitara, cithara, from Latin cithara cithara — more at cither
First Known Use: 1850


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Zither made in Vienna—Courtesy of A.V. Ebblewhite, London; photograph, Behr Photography

Plucked or struck stringed instrument with a shallow soundbox. The common Austrian zither is roughly rectangular and has 30–40 strings; it is placed on the player's knees or on a table. Several melody strings pass over a fretted fingerboard; the player's left hand stops these strings, while the right hand plucks with the fingers and a thumb plectrum. Zither is also a generic term for stringed instruments, the strings of which are fastened across a frame that lacks any projecting neck or arms. The larger zither family thus includes instruments such as the Aeolian harp, autoharp, cimbalom, dulcimer, koto, and even the clavichord, harpsichord, and piano.


Next Word in the Dictionary: ziti
Previous Word in the Dictionary: zit
All Words Near: zither

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up zither? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).