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[ok-uh-ree-nuh] /ˌɒk əˈri nə/
a simple musical wind instrument shaped somewhat like an elongated egg with a mouthpiece and finger holes.
Also called sweet potato.
Origin of ocarina
< Italian, orig. dial. (Emilia), diminutive of oca goose (< Late Latin auca, contraction of *avica, derivative of Latin avis bird), so called from the instrument's shape; apparently the name given to it by Giuseppe Donati of Budrio, near Bologna, who popularized a ceramic version c1860
Related forms
ocarinist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ocarina
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Treatises upon the violin are fairly numerous; but I do not remember having come across many works on the Jew's harp or ocarina.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • Ma'am, if you never do, at least remember that the flute was an ocarina.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The neighbouring forest was soon echoing the strident notes of xylophone, banjo, ocarina and trombone.

  • Im a-goin south from here to give a Chinese lady a lesson on the ocarina.

    Dust of the Desert Robert Welles Ritchie
British Dictionary definitions for ocarina


an egg-shaped wind instrument with a protruding mouthpiece and six to eight finger holes, producing an almost pure tone Also called (US informal) sweet potato
Word Origin
C19: from Italian: little goose, from oca goose, ultimately from Latin avis bird
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 ocarina

1877, from Italian ocarina, diminutive of oca "goose" (so called for its shape), from Vulgar Latin *auca, from Latin avicula "small bird," diminutive of avis "bird" (see aviary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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