• calliope
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kuh-LYE-uh-pee\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: the Greek Muse of heroic poetry
2
: a keyboard musical instrument resembling an organ and consisting of a series of whistles sounded by steam or compressed air
  • EXAMPLES

"For the first time in 3½ years, the musical tones of a riverboat calliope will be heard on the Henderson riverfront come Monday morning." — From an article by Donna B. Stinnett in the Henderson (Kentucky) Gleaner, April 29, 2012

"Other predictably Beatles-esque touches abound on this handsomely mounted but unexciting effort. You get trumpet squalls, calliope sounds, and Mellotron-ish keyboards in 'The Death of You and Me,' which, ominous title aside, turns out to be 'Penny Lane'-level jaunty." — From an album review by Chris Willman on Reuters.com, November 8, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

With a name literally meaning "beautiful-voiced" (from "kallos," meaning "beauty," and "ops," meaning "voice"), Calliope was the most prominent of the Muses—the nine sister goddesses who in Greek mythology presided over poetry, song, and the arts and sciences. She is represented in art as holding an epic poem in one hand and a trumpet in the other. The musical instrument invented and patented in the 1850s, played by forcing steam or compressed air through a series of whistles, was named after the goddess. Because its sound could be heard for miles around, the calliope was effective in luring patrons to river showboats, circuses, and carnivals, which is why the instrument continues its association with such attractions today.

Test Your Vocabulary: The name of what Greek Muse is also used, in its plural form, as the name of an award for notable achievement in print and broadcast advertising? The answer is ...

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