viol

[vahy-uhl]
noun
a bowed musical instrument, differing from the violin in having deeper ribs, sloping shoulders, a greater number of strings, usually six, and frets: common in the 16th and 17th centuries in various sizes from the treble viol to the bass viol.

Origin:
1475–85; < Middle French viole (akin to Old French viel(l)e > earlier English viele) < Old Provençal viola, derivative of violar to play the viola1 (perhaps imitative)

vial, vile, viol.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
viol (ˈvaɪəl)
 
n
any of a family of stringed musical instruments that preceded the violin family, consisting of a fretted fingerboard, a body rather like that of a violin but having a flat back and six strings, played with a curved bow. They are held between the knees when played and have a quiet yet penetrating tone; they were much played, esp in consorts, in the 16th and 17th centuries
 
[C15: from Old French viole, from Old Provençal viola; see viola1]

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

viol
musical instrument, late 15c., viel, from M.Fr. viole, from O.Fr., from O.Prov. viola (see viola).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Viol definition


Heb. nebel (Isa. 5:12, R.V., "lute;" 14:11), a musical instrument, usually rendered "psaltery" (q.v.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
In the old days, idle fellows gathered in barbershops to exchange the latest news, and lute and viol were played.
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