cel·​lo | \ ˈche-(ˌ)lō \
plural cellos also celli\ ˈche-​lē \

Definition of cello 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cello

cellist \ ˈche-​list \ noun

Examples of cello in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Florin Parvelescu, violin; Nicholas Dold, piano; Samantha Cho, piano; David Goldblatt, cello. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Classical music and dance listings," 5 Apr. 2018 Signature Recital series: HUB Ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin and cello). Mark Rapp, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Arts listings for March 23-29: Cleveland rock photographer Anastasia Pantsios at Cleveland Print Room & More," 22 Mar. 2018 Ken Benshoof’s Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra was written for his wife, Theresa Benshoof, who retired as Seattle Symphony’s assistant principal cello in 2015. Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times, "Philharmonia Northwest presents old and new music created entirely by Seattle composers," 14 Nov. 2018 Who's who: Adamek; Betsy Ade (lead vocals, guitar, ukelele); Roger Gower (drums); Sacia Jerome (cello, backing vocals); Theodore Koth (lead guitar); John Kulas (bass). Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "At concerts, White Sox and Bulls games, folks are getting familiar with Well-Known Strangers," 13 July 2018 Essential Einaudi will feature a six-piece accompaniment onstage with the composer, with multi-instrumentalists playing violin, cello, organ, synthesizers and electric, acoustic and bass guitar. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Italian Composer Ludovico Einaudi Reaches New Audiences With Intimate North American Tour," 29 June 2018 Elizabeth Blumenstock, Elisabeth Reed, Corey Jamason Baroque violin; baroque cello; harpsichord. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Classical music and dance listings," 19 Apr. 2018 Concert: Edgar Moreau, cello, and Jessica Osborne, piano. Mark Rapp, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Arts listings for April 13-19: Great Lakes Theater's "Macbeth" & More," 12 Apr. 2018 White says these shapes are there because the algorithms were trained using pictures of cellos with cellists holding them. James Vincent, The Verge, "What algorithmic art can teach us about artificial intelligence," 6 Nov. 2018

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

Statistics for cello

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cello

The first known use of cello was in 1855

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cello



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 \
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).


a person who helps groups work together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!