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[kar-uh-lon, -luh n or, esp. British, kuh-ril-yuh n] /ˈkær əˌlɒn, -lən or, esp. British, kəˈrɪl yən/
a set of stationary bells hung in a tower and sounded by manual or pedal action, or by machinery.
a set of horizontal metal plates, struck by hammers, used in the modern orchestra.
Origin of carillon
1765-75; < French: set of bells, Old French car(e)ignon, quarregnon < Vulgar Latin *quadriniōn-, re-formation of Late Latin quaterniōn- quaternion; presumably originally a set of four bells Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carillon
  • Some have reveled in the music, carrying picnic baskets to the foot of the carillon tower on campus.
  • It takes panache to play a large outdoor carillon and inflict your art, unbidden, on a neighborhood.
  • Once an hour a random song played by an on site carillon tower echoes throughout the rolling grounds.
  • The tranquility of this magnificent setting is further enhanced by a carillon tower which plays a different hymn each hour.
British Dictionary definitions for carillon


noun (music)
a set of bells usually hung in a tower and played either by keys and pedals or mechanically
a tune played on such bells
an organ stop giving the effect of a bell
a form of celesta or keyboard glockenspiel
verb -lons, -lonning, -lonned
(intransitive) to play a carillon
Word Origin
C18: from French: set of bells, from Old French quarregnon, ultimately from Latin quattuor four
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carillon

1775, from French carillon, which, according to French sources, is from Old French carignon "set of four bells," an alteration of quarregon, from Vulgar Latin *quadrinionem, from Latin quaternionem "set of four," from quater "four times," from PIE *kwetrus, from root *kwetwer- "four" (see four).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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