harp·​si·​chord ˈhärp-si-ˌkȯrd How to pronounce harpsichord (audio)
: a stringed instrument resembling a grand piano but usually having two keyboards and two or more strings for each note and producing tones by the plucking of strings with plectra
harpsichordist noun

Examples of harpsichord in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web McCartney also is credited with brand new bass, piano and electric harpsichord, and Starr’s drum playing is a fresh addition as well … and both get credit for playing shakers. Chris Willman, Variety, 26 Oct. 2023 Hana has a habit of picking up feathers to give to the village chief, who makes them into quills to pluck at the strings of a harpsichord. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 4 Sep. 2023 So, maybe just a harpsichord and finger snaps next time. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2023 This was aided by Nelsons’s crisp conducting and the occasional arpeggio from a harpsichord in the recitatives. Jeremy Yudkin, BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2023 And in music surely meant for organ continuo, artistic director James Richman led from a mostly inaudible harpsichord. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 1 May 2023 Carol Bogart sang Monteverdi, Albert Fuller played harpsichord, and Stanley Ritchie and Jaap Schröder were playing violin. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, 15 June 2023 Here was a champion swordsman and celebrated musician invited to play his violin at Versailles, where Marie Antoinette reportedly accompanied him on the harpsichord. Peter Debruge, Variety, 5 Apr. 2023 But only the most curmudgeonly listeners could apply that description to the song, which starts with an arresting sample that lands somewhere between the harpsichord sound from early Ne-Yo hits and wind-chimes quivering under pressure from intense winds. Elias Leight, Rolling Stone, 7 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Word History


modification of Italian arpicordo, from arpa harp + corda string

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of harpsichord was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near harpsichord

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition


harp·​si·​chord ˈhärp-si-ˌkȯ(ə)rd How to pronounce harpsichord (audio)
: a keyboard instrument similar to a piano but with strings that are plucked rather than struck

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