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[of-i-klahyd] /ˈɒf ɪˌklaɪd/
a musical wind instrument, a development of the old wooden serpent, consisting of a conical metal tube bent double.
1825-35; < French ophicléide < Greek óphi(s) serpent + kleid- (stem of kleís) key (akin to Latin clavis; see clavicle)
Related forms
ophicleidean, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ophicleide
  • These included the cornett, serpent, ophicleide and keyed trumpet.
British Dictionary definitions for ophicleide


(music) an obsolete keyed wind instrument of bass pitch
Word Origin
C19: from French ophiclēide, from Greek ophis snake + kleis key
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for ophicleide

brass wind musical instrument with a cup-shaped mouthpiece and padded keys, the bass version of the old keyed bugle. The name (from Greek ophis and kleid, "serpent" and "key") alludes to its improvement on the military band "upright serpents" (now-obsolete S-shaped bass instruments sounded by vibration of the lips against a cup mouthpiece) by providing 11 brass keys to replace open finger holes

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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