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[kas-tuh-net] /ˌkæs təˈnɛt/
either of a pair of concave pieces of wood held in the palm of the hand and clicked together, usually to accompany dancing.
Origin of castanet
1640-50; < Spanish castañeta, equivalent to castañ(a) chestnut (< Latin castanea) + -eta diminutive suffix; see -et, -ette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for castanet
Historical Examples
  • And now the trio was a trio of castanet smacks and cymbal claps.

    Sea and Sardinia D. H. Lawrence
  • I turned to Scipio, standing by the low-boy, his teeth, going like a castanet.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • That vulgar girl is singing the castanet song in the second act at this moment.

    The Law and the Lady Wilkie Collins
  • The kettle drum and the castanet were in common use among them, and pictures of girls playing on the lute are not infrequent.

    Oriental Women Edward Bagby Pollard
  • My teeth were actually chattering in my head, with a castanet accompaniment to my discomfort.

    Buckskin Mose Buckskin Mose
  • The castanet player does not sing; but his four colleagues have good voices, and, in glees, harmonize charmingly.

  • There again was castanet, a partisan leader in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for controversial divinity.

  • Where the two were missing he carried the stem of his pipe, and when he talked the stem clicked, like a castanet.

    The Courage of Marge O'Doone James Oliver Curwood
  • He shook the door by the iron handle until the latch clattered like a castanet: there was no sound from within.

    Bulldog Carney W. A. Fraser
  • One hundred inferior maxillaries began to castanet away like mad.

    H. R. Edwin Lefevre
Word Origin and History for castanet

usually castanets, 1640s, from French castagnette or directly from Spanish castañeta diminutive of castaña "chestnut," from Latin castanea (see chestnut).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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