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dulcimer

[duhl-suh-mer] /ˈdʌl sə mər/
noun
1.
Also called hammered dulcimer, hammer dulcimer. a trapezoidal zither with metal strings that are struck with light hammers.
2.
a modern folk instrument related to the guitar and plucked with the fingers.
Origin
1560-1570
1560-70; alteration of Middle English dowcemere < Middle French doulcemer, dissimilated variant of doulcemele < Old Italian dolcimelo, dolzemele < Latin dulce melos sweet song. See dulcet, melic
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dulcimer

dulcimer

/ˈdʌlsɪmə/
noun (music)
1.
a tuned percussion instrument consisting of a set of strings of graduated length stretched over a sounding board and struck with a pair of hammers
2.
an instrument used in US folk music, consisting of an elliptical body, a fretted fingerboard, and usually three strings plucked with a goose quill
Word Origin
C15: from Old French doulcemer, from Old Italian dolcimelo, from dolce sweet, from Latin dulcis + -melo, perhaps from Greek melos song
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dulcimer
n.

late 15c., from Middle French doulce mer, variant of doulcemele, perhaps from doulz de mer, said to represent Latin dulce "sweet" + melos "song," from Greek melos "melody."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dulcimer in the Bible

(Heb. sumphoniah), a musical instrument mentioned in Dan. 3:5, 15, along with other instruments there named, as sounded before the golden image. It was not a Jewish instrument. In the margin of the Revised Version it is styled the "bag-pipe." Luther translated it "lute," and Grotius the "crooked trumpet." It is probable that it was introduced into Babylon by some Greek or Western-Asiatic musician. Some Rabbinical commentators render it by "organ," the well-known instrument composed of a series of pipes, others by "lyre." The most probable interpretation is that it was a bag-pipe similar to the zampagna of Southern Europe.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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