man·​do·​lin | \ ˌman-də-ˈlin How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-də-lən \
variants: or less commonly mandoline \ ˌman-​də-​ˈlēn How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-​də-​lən \

Definition of mandolin

1 : a musical instrument of the lute family that has a usually pear-shaped body and fretted neck and four to six pairs of strings
2 usually mandoline [French, from Italian mandolino mandolin] : a kitchen utensil with a blade for slicing and shredding

Illustration of mandolin

Illustration of mandolin

mandolin 1

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Other Words from mandolin

mandolinist \ ˌman-​də-​ˈli-​nist How to pronounce mandolin (audio) \ noun

Examples of mandolin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s Jane’s best friend, Freida, the high-school music teacher who is never without her mandolin and is never more than a minute away from playing it. Joanne Kaufman, WSJ, "‘Early Morning Riser’ Review: Small Town, Big Personalities," 23 Apr. 2021 Jane’s friend Freida, for example, plays songs on her mandolin at every gathering — but that doesn’t mean Jane has to always love those songs. Washington Post, "Katherine Heiny’s ‘Early Morning Riser’ may be the funniest novel of the year," 20 Apr. 2021 There are pictures of her playing the mandolin to her Jerseys. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'We are very "dare to be different" people'; In the heart of Wisconsin cheese country, she serves gelato," 16 Mar. 2021 Ostroushko grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, picking up his dad's mandolin at age 3, eventually learning to play everything from Ukrainian folk songs to jazz. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, "Peter Ostroushko, virtuoso musician with everyone from Bob Dylan to Minnesota Orchestra, dies," 25 Feb. 2021 After becoming hooked on bluegrass, via albums by Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe, Hillman bought a new Kay mandolin at Singing Strings in Encinitas. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star? Chris Hillman reflects on vital legacy in new memoir, ‘Time Between’," 29 Nov. 2020 Blake tries to play the accordion, for example, and what looks like a mandolin. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'The Bachelorette' recap: Tayshia bonds with Ivan, Ben; sends 4 men packing after cocktail party drama," 25 Nov. 2020 Or slice the jicama on a mandolin into chips for dipping. Judy Walker,, "Surprise vegetables in farmers market boxes can jazz up your meals: Try these easy recipes," 23 Sep. 2020 Hawke had cast himself as the hell-raising, mandolin-smashing Ira Louvin, and his friend the actor Alessandro Nivola as the God-fearing, guitar-playing Charlie Louvin, in a story that chronicles the abrasions of the brothers’ final tour. John Lahr, The New Yorker, "The Many Faces of Ethan Hawke," 14 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mandolin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mandolin

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mandolin

Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola

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Time Traveler for mandolin

Time Traveler

The first known use of mandolin was in 1707

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Statistics for mandolin

Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mandolin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mandolin



English Language Learners Definition of mandolin

: a small musical instrument that has a long neck, a body that is shaped like a pear, and usually four pairs of strings


man·​do·​lin | \ ˌman-də-ˈlin How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-də-lən \

Kids Definition of mandolin

: a musical instrument with four pairs of strings played by plucking

More from Merriam-Webster on mandolin

Nglish: Translation of mandolin for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mandolin

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