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 mandoline (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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mandolin

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

Examples of mandolin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Jazz trumpet struts added a cool noir quality to the soundscapes, and mandolin sprints brought a fiery flair. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tash Sultana is like Ed Sheeran and Phish rolled into one at Milwaukee show, and so much more," 11 Sep. 2019 This one-stop shopping destination for homemade music-making sells guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, harmonicas, and even ukuleles. David Lyon,, "Simpler, gentler: A journey through the eastern N.H. hinterlands," 13 Aug. 2019 Get your fill of mandolins and Chianti at A Night in Italy (6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Massimo’s Art Gallery, 11062 International Drive in Orlando, $10, Trevor Fraser,, "Things to do this weekend: Travel the world with Orlando events," 10 July 2019 Anne’s brother, Brad Bulla, joined them, playing mandolin, lead guitar, and banjo along with the Byrds’ vocals. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter Five: The Remnant," 20 July 2019 That’s because the city that the ace guitar and mandolin player hails from is actually Philadelphia, Mississippi. Dan Deluca,, "Hall & Oates' Hoagie Nation features the best-dressed (and just plain best) band in Nashville," 24 May 2018 The orchestra features mandolins, acoustic guitar, whistles, flutes, fiddles and pipes. Matthew J. Palm,, "'Come From Away:’ Amazing show closes out Broadway season in Orlando | Review," 11 June 2019 Clinton Davis, a folk musician based in San Diego, performs on guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, mandolin and piano. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Girl Scouts donate trash sorting cans to Alta Vista Botanical Gardens," 17 June 2019 The original version incorrectly identified mandolin players as commonly employing a fingerpicking style. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of mandolin

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mandolin

Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mandolin

Dictionary Entries near mandolin








Statistics for mandolin

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mandolin

The first known use of mandolin was in 1707

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mandolin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mandolin

Spanish Central: Translation of mandolin

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

Comments on mandolin

What made you want to look up mandolin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!