psaltery

psaltery

[sawl-tuh-ree]
noun, plural psalteries.
1.
an ancient musical instrument consisting of a flat sounding box with numerous strings which are plucked with the fingers or with a plectrum.
2.
(initial capital letter) the Psalter.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English sautrie < Middle French sauter(i)e < Late Latin psaltērium; see Psalter

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
psaltery (ˈsɔːltərɪ)
 
n , pl -teries
music an ancient stringed instrument similar to the lyre, but having a trapezoidal sounding board over which the strings are stretched
 
[Old English: see Psalter]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

psaltery
"ancient stringed instrument," c.1300, from O.Fr. psalterie (12c.), from L. psalterium "stringed instrument," from Gk. psalterion "stringed instrument," from psallein "play on a stringed instrument, pull, pluck."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Psaltery definition


a musical instrument, supposed to have been a kind of lyre, or a harp with twelve strings. The Hebrew word nebhel, so rendered, is translated "viol" in Isa. 5:12 (R.V., "lute"); 14:11. In Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15, the word thus rendered is Chaldaic, pesanterin, which is supposed to be a word of Greek origin denoting an instrument of the harp kind.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

psaltery

(from Greek psalterion: "harp"), musical instrument having plucked strings of gut, horsehair, or metal stretched across a flat soundboard, often trapezoidal but also rectangular, triangular, or wing-shaped. The strings are open, none being stopped to produce different notes. The instrument, probably of Near Eastern origin in late classical times, reached Europe in the 12th century as a variety of the trapezoidal Arabic psaltery, or qanun. It was popular in Europe until about the 15th century and developed there into several shapes, including the characteristic "boar's head"-i.e., with two incurving sides. It was plucked with the fingers or two quill plectra. Even after its decline, it continued to be played on occasion in fashionable society. It also gave rise to the harpsichord, which is a large psaltery with a keyboard mechanism for plucking the strings. Psalteries still played in European folk music include the Finnish kantele and its Baltic relatives, among them the Estonian kannel, which is bowed rather than plucked, and the Russian gusli.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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