har·​mon·​i·​ca här-ˈmä-ni-kə How to pronounce harmonica (audio)
: a small rectangular wind instrument with free reeds recessed in air slots from which tones are sounded by exhaling and inhaling
harmonicist noun

Examples of harmonica in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If those harmonica riffs sounded familiar, there was a reason: That was Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy providing them. Nancy Kruh, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 The night prior, Massey commanded a crowded Bowery Ballroom and drew impassioned yelps during a three-song encore and (not one, but two!) harmonica solos. Ethan Shanfeld, Variety, 8 Nov. 2023 Now co-founder and veteran rock photographer Danny Clinch on harmonica, was also joined by E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons for the performance. Jonathan Cohen, Spin, 17 Sep. 2023 The man’s gestalt was designed for accompaniment on harmonica. Dan Piepenbring, Harper's Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 Another man was arrested for sedition, a crime under the national security law, last year for playing the tune on a harmonica during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Meaghan Tobin, Washington Post, 28 July 2023 Robbie came back with a theme driven by guitar, bass, harmonica — dangerous and fleshy. Martin Scorsese, Rolling Stone, 17 Sep. 2023 The singer’s plaintive vocals, set at first against a simple backdrop of harmonica and strings, build to a soaring guitar solo. Vivian Wang, New York Times, 13 Aug. 2023 The rock icon frequently interacted with the crowd: tossing guitar picks to two stunned boys and gifting his harmonica to one little girl and her elated mom. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Italian armonica, feminine of armonico harmonious

First Known Use

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of harmonica was in 1762

Dictionary Entries Near harmonica

Cite this Entry

“Harmonica.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harmonica. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


har·​mon·​i·​ca här-ˈmän-i-kə How to pronounce harmonica (audio)
: a small musical instrument that is held in the hand and played by the mouth and that produces a sound through metal reeds which vibrate as air is blown or drawn past them

More from Merriam-Webster on harmonica

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