1 of 4

noun (1)

: a stringed instrument having a large pear-shaped body, a vaulted back, a fretted fingerboard, and a head with tuning pegs which is often angled backward from the neck

Illustration of lute

Illustration of lute


2 of 4


luted; luting

transitive verb

: to seal or cover (something, such as a joint or surface) with lute


3 of 4

noun (2)

: a substance (such as cement or clay) for packing a joint or coating a porous surface to make it impervious to gas or liquid


4 of 4

combining form

variants or luteo-
: corpus luteum

Examples of lute in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Nathaniel Cox toggled throughout the night between his theorbo (an extremely long-necked lute) and the mythic-seeming cornetto, a hybrid of wind and brass, with the body of a flute (often made of either hardwood or bone) and the mouthpiece of a trumpet. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2023 That needle is the lamb of a radio station and a YouTube tea channel, with a dash of lute thrown in for good measure. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 8 Dec. 2023 Musical instruments such as flutes, lutes, maracas, and drums can be fashioned from the hard-shelled fruit. Rita Pelczar, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Sep. 2023 In addition to the pipa, Min will play the ruan, a four-string lute, and the sanxian, a three-string lute. oregonlive, 24 Feb. 2023 Ouds resemble lutes, which in turn resemble guitars. Jaron Lanier, The New Yorker, 22 July 2023 Presented by Third Angle New Music Ensemble, this concert (March 2-3 at New Expressive Works) features Min’s command of the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese lute, several other traditional instruments, and her voice in a unique collaboration with Rez Abassi on acoustical and electric guitar. oregonlive, 24 Feb. 2023 The kora, a West African stringed instrument that sounds like a lute or a harp, became a key element of the score, as did traditional African drums like the sabar and djembe. Jon Burlingame, Variety, 11 Nov. 2022 In later years, Lindley did less studio work and took to doing solo shows under his own name, sometimes focusing on his signature guitar playing but eventually drifting more toward less conventional instruments like the oud, a 12-string Persian cousin to the lute. Chris Willman, Variety, 4 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Middle French lut, from Old Occitan laut, from Arabic al-ʽūd, literally, the wood


Middle English, from Latin lutare, from lutum mud — more at pollute

Combining form

New Latin (corpus) luteum

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lute was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near lute

Cite this Entry

“Lute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a musical instrument resembling a guitar but with a pear-shaped body

Medical Definition


: a substance (as cement or clay) for packing a joint (as in laboratory apparatus) or coating a porous surface to produce imperviousness to gas or liquid
lute transitive verb
luted; luting

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