before 900; < Late Latinpsaltērium the Psalter, Latin: a psaltery < Greekpsaltḗrion stringed instrument; replacing Middle Englishsauter (< Anglo-French < Late Latin) and Old Englishsaltere (< Late Latin, as above)
"the Book of Psalms," O.E. saltere, psaltere, from Church L. psalterium "the songs of David," from L., lit. "stringed instrument played by twanging," from Gk. psalterion, from psallein "to pluck, play on a stringed instrument."