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Crwth, which comes to us from Welsh, is the name for an ancient Celtic instrument that is similar to a violin. In Middle English, the instrument's name was spelled crouth before metamorphosing to crowd, a word still used in some dialects of England to refer to a violin. Crwth can also refer to a swelling or bulging body, and we can speculate that it came to be used for the instrument because of the violin's bulging form. Other Celtic words for the violin also have meanings referring to rounded shapes. In Irish, for example, cruit can mean "harp" or "violin" as well as "hump" or "hunch."

Word History


borrowed from Welsh — more at crowd entry 3

First Known Use

1793, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crwth was in 1793


Dictionary Entries Near crwth

Cite this Entry

“Crwth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crwth. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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