ce·​les·​ta sə-ˈle-stə How to pronounce celesta (audio)
variants or celeste
sə-ˈlest How to pronounce celesta (audio)
: a keyboard instrument with hammers that strike steel plates producing a tone similar to that of a glockenspiel

Examples of celesta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While that demo suite of Helena’s theme was indeed elegant and even infatuated, Williams proved his mastery at classical film scoring by adapting it into every conceivable mode — quiet mystery on celesta, playful wisecracking on muted trumpets — to map perfectly onto the character’s arc. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Rivera first speaks to Kahlo across a magically spooky texture of xylophone, marimba, celesta, and harp—the River Styx as painted by Monet. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 3 July 2023 It is scored for a flutist who also plays alto flute and piccolo, a pianist doubling on celesta, and a percussionist playing glockenspiel, vibraphone, tubular bells, and marimba. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2023 Liam Wooding gently played his keyboards, finding the right balance between piano and celesta (not an easy thing to do). Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2023 The harp and celesta twinkled when accompanying finely shaped horn chorales. Dallas News, 29 Apr. 2022 Both here and in Duke Ellington’s Solitude, arranged for string orchestra, celesta and harp by Morton Gould, Cohn also coaxed finely lyrical playing. Dallas News, 8 June 2022 The airy tinkling sound that gives the Sugar Plum Fairy’s solo an aspect of the supernatural was produced by a celesta, a French keyboard instrument that Tchaikovsky asked his publisher to order from Paris, in secret. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 The opera leans heavily on this orchestra’s storied opulent strings, as well as on its characterful winds and brasses, and precision at a large battery of percussion instruments (including a celesta, used frequently, in a cliché of dreaminess). New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'celesta.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French célesta, alteration of céleste, literally, heavenly, from Latin caelestis

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of celesta was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near celesta

Cite this Entry

“Celesta.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celesta. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ce·​les·​ta sə-ˈles-tə How to pronounce celesta (audio)
: a keyboard instrument with hammers that strike steel plates to make ringing sounds

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