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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

rebec

[ree-bek] /ˈri bɛk/
noun
1.
a Renaissance fiddle with a pear-shaped body tapering into a neck that ends in a sickle-shaped or scroll-shaped pegbox.
Also, rebeck.
Origin
1745-1755
1745-55; < Middle French; replacing Middle English ribibe < Old French rebebeArabic rabāb rebab
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for rebeck

rebec

/ˈriːbɛk/
noun
1.
a medieval stringed instrument resembling the violin but having a lute-shaped body
Word Origin
C16: from Old French rebebe, from Arabic rebāb; perhaps also influenced by Old French bec beak
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 rebeck

rebec

n.

medieval stringed musical instrument, early 15c., from Middle French rebec (15c.), an unexplained alteration (perhaps somehow influenced by bec "beak") of Old French ribabe (13c.), ultimately from Arabic rebab. Cf. Old Provençal rebec, Italian ribeca. It has three strings and is played with a bow.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for rebeck

rebec

bowed, stringed musical instrument of European medieval and early Renaissance music. It was originally called a rubebe, developed about the 11th century from the similar Arab rabab, and was carried to Spain with Muslim culture. Like the rabab, the rebec had a shallow, pear-shaped body, but on the rebec the rabab's skin belly was replaced by wood and a fingerboard was added. The rebec was held against the chest or chin or, occasionally, with the bottom of the instrument resting on the seated player's left thigh. The three strings were tuned in fifths (e.g., g-d'-a').

Learn more about rebec with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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14
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