cel·​lo | \ ˈche-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce cello (audio) \
plural cellos also celli\ ˈche-​lē How to pronounce celli (audio) \

Definition of cello

: the bass member of the violin family tuned an octave below the viola

Examples of cello in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This frozen world is stripped down to essentials: impossibly blue sky, bright sun bouncing off a blanket of fresh snow, wind that vibrates like a cello, whiteness all around. Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic, "Inside the fragile world of Québec’s harp seals," 19 Dec. 2019 They were greatly assisted by Heather Vorwerck on baroque cello (held between her legs was the practice) and by Shanon Zusman on the violone, the five-stringed predecessor to the contrabass. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Bach Collegium San Diego opens season with a lovely Bach cantata," 12 Oct. 2019 The Ogonek calls for a 12-member ensemble of flute, clarinets, percussion, piano, cellos and double bass, whereas the Thorvaldsdottir is written for string quartet, bass flute, bass clarinet, prepared piano and percussion. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "MusicNOW's resident composers wrap up their tenure with well-received parting gifts," 22 May 2018 Ken Cowan, professor of organ at The Shepherd School at Rice University, and Norman Fischer, professor of cello at The Shepherd School at Rice University, performed requiem on the album. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Chamber Choir gets first Grammy nomination," 16 Jan. 2020 In addition to Vesuvio, the combo included a Guarneri violin named Prince Doria, the Amati viola known as Stauffer, and a Stradivari cello also called Stauffer. Chuck Squatriglia, Popular Science, "Inside the extraordinary experiment to save the Stradivarius sound," 10 Jan. 2020 Musicians clad in black tuxedos and floor-length gowns tuned a harpsichord and cellos on the grand stage. BostonGlobe.com, "Handel and Haydn Society welcomes “wow child” as special guest - The Boston Globe," 4 Oct. 2019 Number 6 begins with the beautiful sonority of the violas, gamba, two cellos and bass or violone. James Bash | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland Baroque Orchestra opens director’s ‘dream season’ with Bach concertos," 17 Oct. 2019 The look and the sound — cinematography by Lawrence Sher, cello-heavy score by Hildur Gudnadottir — connote gravity and depth, but the movie is weightless and shallow. New York Times, "‘Joker’ Review: Are You Kidding Me?," 3 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of cello

1855, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cello

short for violoncello

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cello

Time Traveler for cello

Time Traveler

The first known use of cello was in 1855

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cello

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cello.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cello. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cello


How to pronounce cello (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cello

: a large musical instrument like a violin that is held between the player's knees while the player sits


cel·​lo | \ ˈche-lō How to pronounce cello (audio) \
plural cellos

Kids Definition of cello

: a large stringed instrument of the violin family that plays the bass part

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cello

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cello

Spanish Central: Translation of cello

Nglish: Translation of cello for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cello

Comments on cello

What made you want to look up cello? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!