cel·​lo ˈche-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce cello (audio)
plural cellos also celli ˈche-lē How to pronounce cello (audio)
: the bass member of the violin family tuned an octave below the viola

Examples of cello in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Taylor was especially exciting to watch through this second half, locking into charming pizzicato figures with the cello and violas under bright, unfurling violins. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 To round out the string instruments, Danny Kenyon, who also sings, has his fingers on cello and bass. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 9 Feb. 2024 Then Khoma will be the soloist for Schumann’s cello concerto. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 9 Feb. 2024 The 24-year-old, who took home her first Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Bewitched, also performed cello alongside Billy Joel. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 5 Feb. 2024 Classes are offered in classical instruments (piano, violin, cello) as well as traditional music (ukulele and an ancestral style of singing called Re o Riu). Mark Johanson, Travel + Leisure, 19 Jan. 2024 The cello and the double-bass: larger and deeper still. Richard Siken, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 The cello was played by a young officer who asked not to be named or photographed. Adi Rubinstein, Sun Sentinel, 3 Jan. 2024 Born in Reykjavík, Laufey began playing piano at four years old, picked up cello at eight, and started singing jazz a few years after that, all while moving between Iceland and Washington, D.C., and spending her summers at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Taylor Mims, Billboard, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


short for violoncello

First Known Use

1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cello was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near cello

Cite this Entry

“Cello.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cello. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


cel·​lo ˈchel-ō How to pronounce cello (audio)
plural cellos
: a large musical instrument of the violin family that plays the bass or tenor part

shortened form of violoncello

More from Merriam-Webster on cello

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