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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 castanets
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for castanets


plural noun
curved pieces of hollow wood, usually held between the fingers and thumb and made to click together: used esp by Spanish dancers
Word Origin
C17 castanet, from Spanish castañeta, diminutive of castañachestnut
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 castanets



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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