\ ˈō-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce oboe (audio) \

Definition of oboe

: a double-reed woodwind instrument having a conical tube, a brilliant penetrating tone, and a usual range from B flat below middle C upward for over 2¹/₂ octaves

Illustration of oboe

Illustration of oboe

Other Words from oboe

oboist \ ˈō-​(ˌ)bō-​ist How to pronounce oboe (audio) \ noun

Examples of oboe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Its members included percussion legend Emil Richards, oboe and English horn marvel John Winter and such Zappa touring band standouts as drummer Terry Bozzio, whose 11-page essay appears in this box set’s booklet. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Dec. 2021 There, a strange man with an oboe sat on the ridge of his tooth, playing wide vibratos through nimbusfog. Airea D. Matthews, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2021 Ring in the new year with an annual performance of Baroque favorites selected by Bach in Baltimore’s principal performers on flute, oboe, violin and harpsichord. Elizabeth Nonemaker, baltimoresun.com, 26 Nov. 2021 The performances also feature long stretches with two bass players and, aside from Coltrane’s saxophones, there are musicians bringing in the unusual-for-jazz timbres of the oboe, bass clarinet and contrabassoon. Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2021 The meditative seven-minute work is written for violin, oboe, and clarinet; the title is a Japanese word describing sunlight that’s filtered through the leaves of trees. BostonGlobe.com, 8 Nov. 2021 Even putting a simple melody in a French horn, or violin, or an oboe already sounds different. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Oct. 2021 Longtime Clevelanders may remember the uncommonly bold Red {an orchestra}, which Moore co-founded and served as principal oboe. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 21 Oct. 2021 Usually lyrical lifeblood for solo violin and principal oboe, the first statements of its unspooling melody sounded uncharacteristically lopsided from both players in Thursday’s performance. Hannah Edgar, chicagotribune.com, 8 Oct. 2021

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

circa 1726, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oboe

Italian, from French hautbois — more at hautbois

Learn More About oboe

Dictionary Entries Near oboe



oboe d'amore

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oboe

Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oboe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oboe. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for oboe



English Language Learners Definition of oboe

: a musical instrument that is shaped like a tube and that is played by blowing into a small, thin piece at the top of the tube


\ ˈō-bō How to pronounce oboe (audio) \

Kids Definition of oboe

: a woodwind instrument with two reeds that is pitched higher than the bassoon and has a distinctive bright sound

More from Merriam-Webster on oboe

Nglish: Translation of oboe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oboe for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oboe


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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