: the onetime fifth grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop who carried the standard
: the onetime lowest commissioned rank in the U.S. cavalry
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Like the trumpet, the cornet is a brass instrument with three valves, but its bore is somewhat more conical. Its range parallels that of the trumpet. It evolved in the 1820s, and its agility made it a very popular solo instrument. It often displaced the trumpet in 19th-century orchestras, and it preceded the trumpet in modern dance and jazz bands. Recent developments have made the two instruments very similar, and the cornet's popularity has waned considerably as a result.
Bands in the 19th century had a wide range of formats and instrumentation, but all-brass ensembles were very common and often known as cornet bands.—Catherine Baty, Baltimore Sun, 7 July 2023 Calling it a trumpet concerto is perhaps a misnomer: the soloist probably spends more time on cornets or flugelhorn than on the trumpet.—Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2023 Many of the city’s most interesting artists are peppered through the record, from Ben Lamar Gay on cornet to Ayanna Woods and Sen Morimoto providing saxophone arrangements.—Britt Julious, chicagotribune.com, 27 Aug. 2021 The Creative Music Series presents the A-1 altoist’s coruscating band in a free outdoor concert featuring avant aces Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Timo Shanko (bass), and Luther Gray (drums).—BostonGlobe.com, 15 July 2021 Her father, Nicholas, ran a tavern and a dance hall and played cornet professionally.—Alex Vadukul, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2020 The band is the oldest continuing cornet band in the country.—Hartford Courant, 10 Sep. 2022 The result of this was a loud blast on the cornet caused by a spasmodic laugh into it.—Kori Rumore, chicagotribune.com, 17 Mar. 2022 For years, townspeople cheered their amateur baseball team, held Sunday school picnics and ice cream socials and heralded their cornet band.—Mike Klingaman, baltimoresun.com, 25 Oct. 2021 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cornet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English cornet, cornette "six-holed wooden wind instrument" (now usually cornett or cornetto), borrowed from Middle French cornet, from corn "horn" (going back to Old French, going back to Latin cornum, cornū) + -et-et entry 1 — more at horn
borrowed from Middle French cornette "lappet terminating a woman's headdress, pennon, standard of a troop, officer holding the standard," from corne "horn, wimple with horn-like appendages," going back to Latin cornua, plural (taken as singular) of cornū "horn" — more at horn