\ˈflüt \

Definition of flute 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : recorder sense 3

b : a keyed woodwind instrument consisting of a cylindrical tube which is stopped at one end and which has a side hole over which air is blown to produce the tone and having a range from middle C upward for three octaves

2 : something long and slender: such as

a : a tall slender wineglass

b : a grooved pleat (as on a hat brim)

3 : a rounded groove specifically : one of the vertical parallel grooves on a classical architectural column


fluted; fluting

Definition of flute (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to play a flute

2 : to produce a flutelike sound

transitive verb

1 : to utter with a flutelike sound

2 : to form flutes in

Illustration of flute

Illustration of flute


flute 1b

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from flute


flutelike \ ˈflüt-​ˌlīk \ adjective
fluty or flutey \ ˈflü-​tē \ adjective


fluter noun

Did You Know?

This is a woodwind instrument whose sound is produced by blowing against a sharp edge. Flutes may be end-blown, like the recorder, or may have a round shape, like the ocarina; however, the term usually refers to the transverse flute of Western music. The transverse flute, a tubular instrument held sideways to the right, appeared in Greece and Italy by the second century ce. By the 16th century, flutes with finger holes but no keys were in use in Europe. Keys began to be added in the late 17th century. Later 19th-century innovations resulted in the modern flute. The cylindrical tube may be made of wood or, more often, a precious metal or alloy. The flute family also includes the piccolo, the alto flute, and the rare bass flute.

Examples of flute in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the entrance to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, a young woman wearing an orange anti-gun violence shirt played a flute while, across the street, two men waved a 5-foot-tall cutout of a black AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at passing cars. Paul Sisson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Crossroads gun show returns to Del Mar, so do protesters," 15 July 2018 Because of nerve damage in her hand, Wagoner could no longer play the flute. Myrna Petlicki, chicagotribune.com, "Coming soon to a theater near you: Park Ridge native helps create trailers in Hollywood," 14 July 2018 Both saxophonists evoke the concise, often clipped, syntax of Mr. Threadgill’s playing without resorting to mimicry: Mr. Filiú (who also plays alto flute) with an urgent intensity, and Mr. Macdonald through more of a narrative arc. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, "‘Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus’ and ‘Dirt… and More Dirt’ Reviews," 22 May 2018 The company may send wine flutes, flowers, or gifts from registries. Alyson Krueger, New York Times, "A Tinder Moment, a Gift From OkCupid and a Bumble Officiant," 3 July 2018 On our last night, an impromptu concert unfolded in the dining room as waiters began playing flutes, drums and an oud in honor of a passenger’s birthday. Tara Isabella Burton, WSJ, "A Nile Cruise With Retro-Glamour Appeal," 30 May 2018 Media: MarieClaire Although the Mozart piece is on a more intimate scale, showcasing only four instruments — flute, violin, viola and cello — the Haydn symphony presents a full complement of strings and winds by a large orchestra. Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, Houston Chronicle, "Ars Lyrica Houston celebrates female contributions to society," 16 May 2018 Even that flute is probably a recent example of our musical development. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Science of Music," 15 June 2018 The piece opens with the solo violin calmly ascendant against muted strings, the ambience quickly punctured by disconcerting whispers from the flutes. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "New-Music Premieres in Detroit," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The district is also helping the McHenry County Conservation District boost populations of creek heelsplitter and fluted-shell freshwater mussels in Nippersink Creek at Glacial Park in McHenry County. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Project works to boost number of mussels in Kane, McHenry counties," 2 May 2018 Grease a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom and fluted edges. Maya Wilson, Anchorage Daily News, "Lemon meringue pie is an old-fashioned but dreamy confection worth making," 22 Mar. 2018 Roll out, then cut 12 circles with a round, fluted biscuit cutter (Or use a glass). Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "A recipe and the cook behind it: Kat Cahill of Saundra's Kitchen," 28 Feb. 2018 The building's lavish decor includes antiqued mirrors, fluted paneling and, on the exterior, turquoise gold leaf and terra cotta tiles. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "Update: Johnny Depp Has Sold Four Of His Five Los Angeles Penthouses," 29 Aug. 2017 That's going to be especially tough in this instance because the wide tower that supports the surge tank is circular in form and fluted with rounded ribs that stiffen its flanks. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Can the city and artist Sam3 create a public art masterpiece on a surge tank? (photos)," 27 Jan. 2018 The bright-green marble, white fluted plaster, gold-leafed walls, apple-green velvet banquets and curvaceous Saarinen chairs create a space outside of time. Damon Johnstun, OregonLive.com, "Paris-based designer's elegant work documented in new book 'Joseph Dirand Interior' (photos)," 2 Nov. 2017 Have ready an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (or a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan). Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie from Mustards Grill," 15 Sep. 2017 In other words, there is no need to flute the dough or make a separate top crust. Linda Giuca And Chris Prosperi, courant.com, "Galette - A Fruity, Not Fancy Pastry," 8 Sep. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for flute


Middle English floute, from Anglo-French floute, fleute, from Old French flaüte, probably of imitative origin

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Statistics for flute

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flute

The first known use of flute was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for flute



English Language Learners Definition of flute

: a musical instrument that is shaped like a thin pipe and that is played by blowing across a hole near one end

: a tall, thin glass that is used for drinking champagne


\ˈflüt \

Kids Definition of flute

: a woodwind instrument in the form of a slender tube open at one end that is played by blowing across a hole near the closed end

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More from Merriam-Webster on flute

Spanish Central: Translation of flute

Nglish: Translation of flute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flute for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flute

Comments on flute

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by force of circumstances

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