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samisen

[sam-uh-sen] /ˈsæm əˌsɛn/
noun
1.
a guitarlike Japanese musical instrument having an extremely long neck and three strings, played with a plectrum.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese sānxia three-string banjo
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for samisen

samisen

/ˈsæmɪˌsɛn/
noun
1.
a variant of shamisen

shamisen

/ˈʃæmɪˌsɛn/
noun
1.
a Japanese plucked stringed instrument with a long neck, an unfretted fingerboard, and a rectangular soundbox
Word Origin
Japanese, from Chinese san-hsien, from san three + hsien string
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 samisen
n.

Japanese three-stringed instrument, 1610s, from Chinese san-hsien, literally "three-strings," from san "three" + hsien "string."

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

long-necked, fretless Japanese lute. The instrument has a small, square body with a catskin front and back, three twisted-silk strings, and a curved-back pegbox with side pegs. It is played with a large plectrum; different types of plectrums produce distinct tone colours for specific types of music.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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