vi·​o·​lin ˌvī-ə-ˈlin How to pronounce violin (audio)
: a bowed stringed instrument having four strings tuned at intervals of a fifth and a usual range from G below middle C upward for more than 4¹/₂ octaves and having a shallow body, shoulders at right angles to the neck, a fingerboard without frets, and a curved bridge
violinist noun
violinistic adjective

Illustration of violin

Illustration of violin
  • 1 bridge
  • 2 sound hole
  • 3 soundboard
  • 4 fingerboard
  • 5 pegs
  • 6 scroll
  • 7 tailpiece
  • g G-string
  • d D-string
  • a A-string
  • e E-string

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Family and friends described McClain as a gentle and kind introvert who volunteered to play his violin to comfort cats at an animal shelter. Colleen Slevin, USA TODAY, 21 Jan. 2023 Stephanie Benedetti, along with her 1-year-old nephew Nico and 3-year-old niece Sienna, who received her first miniature violin for Christmas. Hugh Morris, New York Times, 12 Jan. 2023 Brabeeba Wang, a former Harvard student who is now studying neuroscience at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology, went unmasked and played his violin to accompany the singing. Mark Pratt, ajc, 30 Nov. 2022 Inspired by the emerging experimentalist pop scene at the school, Ellery tried to write songs on her own, setting down her trusty violin in favor of a piano or guitar. Kristin Robinson, Billboard, 30 Nov. 2022 Meyers, who commissioned the concerto from Daugherty, occupied its pocket like a cockpit, her violin a lonely voice adrift in a vast expanse. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2022 Mapy — the French violinist who started the party on Friday — has been able to build an extraordinary solo career playing hip-hop, reggae, and soca on her violin. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 6 Nov. 2022 His violin is, of course, prominently highlighted as is the untidiness of the space–which features piles of books and papers all over. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 4 Nov. 2022 The song began as a joyful chant and peaked in the chorus, when Sudan Archives took to her electric violin for a catchy hook (with choreography to boot). Vulture, 20 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'violin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from Italian violino, from viola "viola, viol" + -ino, diminutive suffix, going back to Latin -īnus -ine entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1576, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of violin was circa 1576

Dictionary Entries Near violin

Cite this Entry

“Violin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


vi·​o·​lin ˌvī-ə-ˈlin How to pronounce violin (audio)
: a stringed musical instrument with four strings that is usually held against the shoulder under the chin and played with a bow

More from Merriam-Webster on violin

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