flute

1 of 2

noun

1
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
flutelike adjective
fluty adjective
or flutey

Illustration of flute

Illustration of flute
  • flute 1b

flute

2 of 2

verb

fluted; fluting

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
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
On the wall hung a flag with the Wild Fields insignia: an angel of death playing a flute while sitting atop three skulls, with a raven on his shoulder. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 When the sun is bright, there will be high, delicate flute notes. Christina Larson, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2024 That’s just the beginning: Here are five minutes to fall in love with tenors, the flute, the trumpet, Brahms, string quartets and so much more. Javier C. Hernández, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 The lyrics are evocative of an exchange student thinking of home, and the modern R&B sound of the song is blended with Japanese instruments such as bamboo flutes and sound effects like railroad crossings and fireworks, painting a picture of summer in Tokyo and a feeling of wabi-sabi. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 6 Mar. 2024 The objects comprise breastplates, belts, bells, skirts, a set of flutes and various jewelry—inlcuding a set of earrings made from sperm whale teeth and plated in gold. Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Mar. 2024 Alice is an extremely talented flute and piccolo player. Heide Janssen, Orange County Register, 17 Mar. 2024 University of Michigan researcher Jacob Kerzner uncovered its complete musical orchestration, with parts for flute, cello, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, bass and piano, making the musical possible to perform for the first time in nearly a century. Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 Alma has been the flute section leader for multiple years. Heide Janssen, Orange County Register, 17 Mar. 2024
Verb
As for the bezel, it can be fluted or set with diamonds. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 12 Mar. 2024 There are 13-foot-high ceilings throughout, floor-to-ceiling heritage windows, herringbone floors, and fluted millwork columns. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 11 Dec. 2023 Bustamante recommends incorporating curves and fluting to enhance soft, earthy palettes. 5. Kristina McGuirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Dec. 2023 And while there were lovely moments throughout its 28-or-so minutes — the opening assembly of harp and flute atop a scrim of ascendant strings was a sublime start — missing was the darkness and depth of Frost’s forest, and the poetry and power of Kennedy’s vision. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 There’s a Baroque guitar; some Colombian gaita flutes; a French musical saw; a shourangiz (a Persian instrument resembling a traditional poet’s lute); an Array mbira (a giant chromatic thumb piano, made in San Diego); a Turkish clarinet; and a Chinese guqin. Jaron Lanier, The New Yorker, 22 July 2023 Barrels are fluted and measure 22 to 26 inches in length, depending on caliber. Mike Dickerson, Field & Stream, 19 July 2023 The juxtaposition between its approachable tartan pattern and formal crystal material lends this Ralph Lauren flute the versatility that earns its place as our best Champagne flute to splurge on this year. Maria Conti, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2023 Legend have 22-inch barrels, while guns in .450 Bushmaster have 20-inch barrels that are fluted and threaded on some versions. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, 10 Apr. 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near flute

Cite this Entry

“Flute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flute. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

flute

1 of 2 noun
1
: a woodwind instrument played by blowing across a hole near the closed end
2
: a rounded groove
especially : one on an architectural column
flutelike adjective

flute

2 of 2 verb
fluted; fluting
1
: to play a flute
2
: to make a sound like that of a flute
3
: to form flutes in
fluted columns
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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