man·​do·​lin | \ ˌman-də-ˈlin How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-də-lən \
variants: or less commonly mandoline \ ˌman-​də-​ˈlēn How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-​də-​lən \

Definition of mandolin

1 : a musical instrument of the lute family that has a usually pear-shaped body and fretted neck and four to six pairs of strings
2 usually mandoline [French, from Italian mandolino mandolin] : a kitchen utensil with a blade for slicing and shredding

Illustration of mandolin

Illustration of mandolin

mandolin 1

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Other Words from mandolin

mandolinist \ ˌman-​də-​ˈli-​nist How to pronounce mandolin (audio) \ noun

Examples of mandolin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Jane's friend Freida, for example, plays songs on her mandolin at every gathering — but that doesn't mean Jane has to always love those songs. Bethanne Patrick, Star Tribune, 25 May 2021 Krivonishchenko was briefly detained by police for playing his mandolin and pretending to panhandle in the train station. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021 There’s Jane’s best friend, Freida, the high-school music teacher who is never without her mandolin and is never more than a minute away from playing it. Joanne Kaufman, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2021 Jane’s friend Freida, for example, plays songs on her mandolin at every gathering — but that doesn’t mean Jane has to always love those songs. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2021 There are pictures of her playing the mandolin to her Jerseys. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 Mar. 2021 Ostroushko grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, picking up his dad's mandolin at age 3, eventually learning to play everything from Ukrainian folk songs to jazz. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, 25 Feb. 2021 After becoming hooked on bluegrass, via albums by Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe, Hillman bought a new Kay mandolin at Singing Strings in Encinitas. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Nov. 2020 Blake tries to play the accordion, for example, and what looks like a mandolin. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2020

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

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mandolin

Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola

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Learn More About mandolin

Time Traveler for mandolin

Time Traveler

The first known use of mandolin was in 1707

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Statistics for mandolin

Last Updated

3 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mandolin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for mandolin



English Language Learners Definition of mandolin

: a small musical instrument that has a long neck, a body that is shaped like a pear, and usually four pairs of strings


man·​do·​lin | \ ˌman-də-ˈlin How to pronounce mandolin (audio) , ˈman-də-lən \

Kids Definition of mandolin

: a musical instrument with four pairs of strings played by plucking

More from Merriam-Webster on mandolin

Nglish: Translation of mandolin for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mandolin


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