castanet

[kas-tuh-net]
noun
either of a pair of concave pieces of wood held in the palm of the hand and clicked together, usually to accompany dancing.

Origin:
1640–50; < Spanish castañeta, equivalent to castañ(a) chestnut (< Latin castanea) + -eta diminutive suffix; see -et, -ette

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World English Dictionary
castanets (ˌkæstəˈnɛts)
 
pl n
curved pieces of hollow wood, usually held between the fingers and thumb and made to click together: used esp by Spanish dancers
 
[C17 castanet, from Spanish castañeta, diminutive of castañachestnut]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

castanet
1647, from Sp. castaneta dim. of castana "chestnut," from L. castanea.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

castanets

percussion instrument of the clapper family, consisting of two hollowed-out pear-shaped pieces of hardwood, ivory, or other substance hinged together by a cord. Castanets are usually held in the hand and struck together. They are played in differently pitched pairs by dancers primarily in Spain, the Balearic Islands, and southern Italy. In Spain castanets may be used to accompany classical or folkloric dances. Typically, in the classical playing style, pairs of castanets are attached to each thumb; a simple rhythm is performed on the left-hand pair, while the higher-pitched right-hand pair plays a more complicated rhythm. In the folkloric playing style, they are attached to one or more fingers on each hand, both pairs are larger and lower-pitched than those used in the classical playing style, and rhythms are produced by flicking them with the wrists against the palms

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He can reach inside of a bull's mouth, pull out his teeth and use them as castanets.
The bolero, to tinkling guitars and clattering castanets.
Each locomotive comes with built-in castanets, cymbals, a xylophone and a drum.
Tambourines, guitars, gourd rattles and castanets lend to the excitement in the air.
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