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 Naila Teliz, Warren Central High School Naila Teliz, a Warren Central High School student, was a captain of the school's speech team and played cello in the school's orchestra. Robert Scheer, The Indianapolis Star, "'I haven't had a chance to say goodbye': These 13 high schoolers had senior year upended," 12 June 2020 After their reading time, the music-loving child picks a song or two for Grandma to play on the cello. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "How to engage preschoolers on Zoom when social bonding is more important than ever," 10 June 2020 Murphy played his cello beside a chuckwagon; Siu played his violin in a gallery devoted to the Alamo. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Symphony musicians eager to move beyond virtual performances," 2 June 2020 This one stands out not just for the energy of its concluding dance, but also the third movement, where Telemann gives the melody to the organ, while the cello picks out the bass line in pizzicato. E.c., The Economist, "Classical music A trio-sonata playlist," 21 May 2020 Give me Patti LuPone on the jukebox and Yo-Yo Ma on the cello. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "Celebrity Culture Is Burning," 30 Mar. 2020 On certain numbers, Jaffe was accompanied by a Dallas Symphony Orchestra string quartet including Nan Zhang on cello, Nora Scheller and Lydia Umlauf on violin, Meredith Kufchak on viola and Emily Levin on concert harp. Dallas News, "Sarah Jaffe performs at the Meyerson, offering thoughtful retrospective on her career," 4 Feb. 2020 She was accompanied by 17-year-old wunderkind Eva Rose Scholz-Carlson on cello. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Power pairs, such as ‘Rastus and Hattie’ and ‘Tiny Houses,’ were the talk of the stage this season: Year in Review 2019," 28 Dec. 2019 Joshua Robison and Michael Tilson Thomas met in an orchestra in California — Robison on cello, Thomas on oboe. Washington Post, "Michael Tilson Thomas was once the ‘bad boy of classical music.’ Now, at 74, he still conducts with childlike delight.," 6 Dec. 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.

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First Known Use of cello

1855, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cello

short for violoncello

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Time Traveler for cello

Time Traveler

The first known use of cello was in 1855

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Statistics for cello

Last Updated

17 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cello.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cello. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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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

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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

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