\ ˈō-(ˌ)bō \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from oboe

oboist \ ˈō-​(ˌ)bō-​ist \ noun

Examples of oboe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There were scattered fluffs from the first oboe and horn but nothing to detract from a reading that brought Beethovenian power and eloquence to blazing life. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Blomstedt brought a too-familiar bit of CSO repertory to life," 2 Mar. 2018 The oboe concerto is Vaughan Williams at his pastoral best. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "These CDs will carry classical music lovers through the summer," 25 June 2018 Martin, who passed away in 2016, studied piano and oboe in his youth and worked for the BBC’s classical-music department before joining the staff of the Beatles’ parent label, EMI. Chris Gray, Houston Chronicle, "Classical Mystery Tour dresses up Fab Four in tuxes and tails," 3 July 2018 Michael Lesser, who lives in the next town over, came to Dover to see his daughter play oboe for the Memorial Day ceremony as part of the high school band. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "As Americans celebrate Independence Day, what does it mean to be a patriot?," 2 July 2018 The outer movements contain a gentle pulse that supports lyrical, often poignant melodic lines from the oboe against a shimmering orchestral fabric. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "BSO New Music Festival filled with eclectic works, electric performances," 26 June 2018 The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has appointed William Welter, a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the holder of an artist diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory, as principal oboe. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "CSO hires new principal oboe, Willliam Welter, one of its youngest first chairs ever," 26 June 2018 There are also two concertos, one for oboe and one for piano. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "These CDs will carry classical music lovers through the summer," 25 June 2018 The wild tempo of old in the first movement settled into something both bracing and sustainable, and spacious enough to properly set off a gorgeous oboe solo. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra keeps the flame burning as 'The Prometheus Project' continues (review)," 14 May 2018

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oboe

Statistics for oboe

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oboe

The first known use of oboe was circa 1726

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of oboe

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on oboe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oboe

Spanish Central: Translation of oboe

Nglish: Translation of oboe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oboe for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oboe

Comments on oboe

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

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!