the·​re·​min | \ ˈther-ə-mən How to pronounce theremin (audio) \

Definition of theremin

: 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 Theremin’s device also inspired Robert Moog, an American inventor who built his own theremin at age 14 by copying drawings found in a hobbyist magazine, per Smithsonian. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Soviet Spy Who Invented the First Major Electronic Instrument," 3 Dec. 2020 The confused cat does not seem to realize it’s playing a theremin—and neither does its feline audience watching the performance in awe. Melissa Locker, Time, "Tentative and Musically Gifted Cat Playing a Theremin Has Given Us the Song of the Season," 11 Mar. 2020 This meditative piece worked best when the mood was quiet and undulating, especially in the passage in high harmonics near the end, so otherworldly in sound, almost like a theremin. Washington Post, "The bar was set high for Austrian cellist Kian Soltani, and his latest recital delivered," 23 Jan. 2020 Before the moon landing, movie music for space travel mostly dealt in fantasy as well, whether with Wagnerian bombast or ghostly theremin. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, "Hollywood Bowl concert goes to outer space, from ‘The Planets’ to ‘First Man’," 15 Aug. 2019 While there are few theremin players, Sussman said the instrument has stood the test of time due to its popularity in music and film. Anthony Clark Carpio,, "Get a close encounter with a theremin at the Buena Vista Library," 14 June 2019 Last year’s , starring Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, offers a fictional interpretation of the first moon landing, but the real scene-stealer was a theremin. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "The best Apollo 11 content to read, watch, and experience," 19 July 2019 As opposed to a traditional horror score with sweeping orchestrations and a bit of theremin, this show's music relies instead on minimalistic electronic arrangements to further lean into its offbeat ethos. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "HBO’s Los Espookys will make you want to be a horror technician, too," 14 June 2019 Concert Atop the Crypts: Divine Hand Ensemble The Divine Hand Ensemble takes advantage of the haunting backdrop of the historical Laurel Hill Cemetery to perform music on the iconically sci-fi instrument, the theremin., "Carrie Underwood, Celebration of Black Arts and other great events in Philadelphia, June 29-July 6," 28 June 2018

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

1927, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for theremin

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

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Time Traveler for theremin

Time Traveler

The first known use of theremin was in 1927

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Statistics for theremin

Last Updated

11 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Theremin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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