the·​re·​min ˈther-ə-mən How to pronounce theremin (audio)
: a purely melodic electronic musical instrument typically played by moving the hands in the electromagnetic fields surrounding two projecting antennae

Examples of theremin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But just beneath the percolating absurdity (playfully underscored by composer Michael Abels’ liberal use of the otherworldly theremin) there’s a caustic cautionary tale that takes aim at numerous issues facing contemporary society. Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2023 Jon Bernhardt, a former Somerville Arts Council board member, will play the theremin, an electronic instrument that is played without being touched. Maddie Browning,, 12 May 2023 The theremin doesn’t look like an instrument. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2019 If a theremin-playing front-drive Ferrari offends you, switch to Hybrid or Performance mode, and the 769-hp 4.0-liter V-8 shouts itself awake as if roused from a nightmare. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 13 Mar. 2023 The theremin, an electrical instrument featured in science fiction movies, is typically operated by hand movements, but Davis’s version can also translate light signals into musical tones. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, 29 Mar. 2013 But the theremin remains just one facet of Lev Termen’s prodigious output. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2019 Musician Alexandra Stepanoff plays the theremin on NBC radio in 1930. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2019 In 2020, Moog released the Claravox Centennial, its modern interpretation of the theremin from 1919. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 6 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History


modification of Russian termen-voks from Lev Sergeevich Termen (Léon Thérémin) †1993 Russian engineer & inventor + Latin vox voice

First Known Use

1927, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of theremin was in 1927

Dictionary Entries Near theremin

Cite this Entry

“Theremin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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