dul·​ci·​mer | \ ˈdəl-sə-mər How to pronounce dulcimer (audio) \

Definition of dulcimer

1 : a stringed instrument of trapezoidal shape played with light hammers held in the hands
2 or less commonly dulcimore \ ˈdəl-​sə-​ˌmȯr How to pronounce dulcimore (audio) \ : an American folk instrument with three or four strings stretched over an elongate fretted sound box that is held on the lap and played by plucking or strumming

Examples of dulcimer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The pair perform on instruments ranging from guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, and mandolin to tin whistle, harmonica, and limberjacks, and surprise audiences with their interpretation of freestyle Appalachian clog dancing. Robert Knox, BostonGlobe.com, "What’s happening south of Boston," 5 Feb. 2020 Lauper also played the dulcimer throughout the acoustic duet. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Kelly Clarkson Duets with Cyndi Lauper on 'True Colors' and Says It's a 'Dream Come True'," 18 Oct. 2019 Music instructors at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage teach instruments from clawhammer banjo to mountain dulcimer, as well as leading bluegrass jams and a community chorus. Jason W. Lloren, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: One shuttered restaurant’s trail of questions, debts," 7 Oct. 2019 YouTube has Marvin Gaye singing the national anthem at the NBA Finals, and Joni Mitchell playing the dulcimer on the BBC, and live performance footage of hundreds of hardcore bands blasting through VHS hiss. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "How did YouTube become the most popular music streaming site? By sounding like the world itself.," 31 July 2019 In trying to be part of the culture there, Schellhammer purchased a mountain dulcimer and learned to play it. Lyndi Mcnulty, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "An Eye for Art: Photographer Robert Schellhammer likes ‘to bring out the beauty of things’," 17 July 2019 There’s bluegrass music, bell-ringing, rail-splitting, and dulcimer-making, but the highlight is seeing (and hearing) 100-pound iron anvils jettisoned into the air by exploding gunpowder. National Geographic, "Here’s where to spend an unforgettable 4th of July," 1 July 2019 The first of two sessions begins at 1 p.m. with mountain dulcimer instruction, followed by hammered dulcimer instruction at 3 p.m. Instruments will be on hand for individuals who do not have their own. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora event to celebrate city's ethnic food traditions," 19 Apr. 2018 Donna Dufresne brought her guitar, Tom French his violin, Leslie Sweetnam a mountain dulcimer. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "SING: A Monthly Community Sing-A-Long," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dulcimer.' 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 dulcimer

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dulcimer

Middle English dowcemere, from Middle French doulcemer, from Old Italian dolcimelo, from dolce sweet, from Latin dulcis

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The first known use of dulcimer was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dulcimer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dulcimer. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce dulcimer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dulcimer

: a flat musical instrument that has strings stretched across it and is played with two light hammers
: an instrument used in American folk music that has three or four strings, is held on the lap, and is played with the fingers, a pick, or a small stick

More from Merriam-Webster on dulcimer

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dulcimer

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