clav·​i·​chord ˈkla-və-ˌkȯrd How to pronounce clavichord (audio)
: an early keyboard instrument having strings struck by tangents attached directly to the key ends
clavichordist noun

Examples of clavichord in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As cracking leaves and creaking doors giving way to plaintive clavichords, Jaar bleeds atmosphere and rhythm into an unholy playground for Harrington's piercing guitar work. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 26 Nov. 2019 Before logging miles on this afternoon hike, we are treated to a soothing musical performance on the clavichord, an instrument dating back to 14th century Japan whose gentle notes amplify the enchanting whisper of the forest. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, 19 Nov. 2018 The group's timbre is sometimes altered by Wachsmann's subtle waves of electronics and Sandell's occasional use of clavichord and portative organ. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 2 Feb. 2018 One may be 47 percent bassoon and 53 percent clavichord. Cade Metz, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2017 Later, this became the clavichord, then the harpsicord, then the pianoforte, which becomes the piano. National Geographic, 11 Dec. 2016

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

Word History


Medieval Latin clavichordium, from Latin clavis key + chorda string — more at cord

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clavichord was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near clavichord

Cite this Entry

“Clavichord.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


clav·​i·​chord ˈklav-ə-ˌkȯ(ə)rd How to pronounce clavichord (audio)
: an early keyboard instrument in use before the piano

More from Merriam-Webster on clavichord

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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