follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

kettledrum

[ket-l-druhm] /ˈkɛt lˌdrʌm/
noun
1.
a drum consisting of a hollow hemisphere of brass, copper, or fiberglass over which is stretched a skin, the tension of which can be modified by hand screws or foot pedals to vary the pitch.
Compare timpani.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; kettle + drum1
Related forms
kettledrummer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for kettle drum

kettledrum

/ˈkɛtəlˌdrʌm/
noun
1.
a percussion instrument of definite pitch, consisting of a hollow bowl-like hemisphere covered with a skin or membrane, supported on a tripod or stand. The pitch may be adjusted by means of screws or pedals, which alter the tension of the skin
Derived Forms
kettledrummer, noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for kettle drum

kettledrum

n.

1540s, from kettle + drum (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
kettle drum in Culture

kettledrum definition


A drum consisting of a skin stretched over a large shell in the shape of a half-sphere. The pitch of the kettledrum can be changed by manipulating screws at the edge of the skin or pedals at the bottom of the drum. Kettledrums are usually used in classical music in sets of two or more and are known by their Italian name, timpani.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for kettle drum

kettledrum

percussion instrument in which a membrane is stretched over a hemispheric or similar-shaped shell and held taut, usually by a hoop with rope lacings, adjusting screws, or various mechanical devices; in some varieties the lacings may pierce the skin directly or the membrane may be tied on with a thong. When struck by sticks or, less commonly, by the hands, the membrane produces a sound of identifiable pitch. The form of the sound wave is not completely known, nor are the acoustic roles of the shell's shape and the volume of air it encloses.

Learn more about kettledrum with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for kettledrum

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for kettle

10
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for kettle drum