Definition of calliope
1 capitalized : 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
calliope was our Word of the Day on 07/18/2012. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of calliope
Latin, from Greek Kalliopē
First Known Use: 14th century
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