cym·​bal ˈsim-bəl How to pronounce cymbal (audio)
: a concave metal plate (as of brass or bronze) that produces a brilliant clashing tone and that is struck with a drumstick or is used in pairs struck glancingly together
cymbalist noun

Examples of cymbal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An array of clanging chimes and banging cymbals add punctuation to Dre’s windy wonder – an album where every little nook, cranny and noise matters. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 The high-frequency treble sounds, like cymbals and percussion, are clear without being harsh. Geoffrey Morrison,, 31 Oct. 2023 There is a climbing wall, a high wire, and a cast of acrobats who erect human towers and toss one another through the air, but, instead of cymbal crashes and gasps, there is spare music and soft landings. The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2023 As for his toolbox, Metzger used castanets and finger cymbals because they had been used in the song instrumentation. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 18 Oct. 2023 Zildjian has turned out as many as a million cymbals in a calendar year. James Sullivan,, 19 Sep. 2023 The results are amateurish, at times laughable (somebody stop that kid crashing his cymbals beside the mic), but the songs are deeply affecting. Christopher Wynn, Dallas News, 7 Sep. 2023 Hanslick was within his rights to bemoan a surfeit of blaring brass and of cymbal crashes. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 The bridge featured a pair of dramatic stops with a single cymbal clang by drummer Nir Z, plus thick harmonies, enhanced by some reverb effects that hint at the sound of a Black gospel choir. Tom Roland, Billboard, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English cymbal & Anglo-French cymbele, from Latin cymbalum, from Greek kymbalon, from kymbē bowl, boat

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cymbal was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near cymbal

Cite this Entry

“Cymbal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


cym·​bal ˈsim-bəl How to pronounce cymbal (audio)
: a brass plate that is struck with a drumstick or is used in pairs struck together to make a clashing sound
cymbalist noun

More from Merriam-Webster on cymbal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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