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[zahy-luh-fohn] /ˈzaɪ ləˌfoʊn/
a musical instrument consisting of a graduated series of wooden bars, usually sounded by striking with small wooden hammers.
Origin of xylophone
1865-70; xylo- + -phone
Related forms
[zahy-luh-fon-ik] /ˌzaɪ ləˈfɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
[zahy-luh-foh-nist, zahy-lof-uh-nist, zi-] /ˈzaɪ ləˌfoʊ nɪst, zaɪˈlɒf ə nɪst, zɪ-/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for xylophone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One can play a xylophone solo on them with practice, he said, but it is dangerous, since a certain pitch would crack them.

  • Then it paused, and the sonorous voice of the xylophone spoke to the jungle.

    The Pathless Trail Arthur O. (Arthur Olney) Friel
  • "Yes, Popper," said the girl, and Jack's heart began to play the anvil chorus on the xylophone of his ribs.

    Jack and the Check Book John Kendrick Bangs
  • She had never heard such a tattoo, nor seen such a 186 xylophone, nor yet so fine a fellow as Billie.

  • So they began to cuss, amiable, and throw down dollars on the bar till it sounded like a selection on the xylophone.

  • The orchestra employed is the usual large modern orchestra, with a piccolo, glockenspiel and xylophone.

    Giacomo Puccini Wakeling Dry
  • It thrashed its bony arms impatiently and its ribs rattled like a xylophone.

  • When I arrived in my garret I swore I was through and seriously thought of studying the xylophone.

    Unicorns James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for xylophone


(music) a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars of graduated length. It is played with hard-headed hammers
Derived Forms
xylophonic (ˌzaɪləˈfɒnɪk) adjective
xylophonist (zaɪˈlɒfənɪst) noun
Word Origin
C19: from xylo- + -phone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for xylophone

1866, coined from Greek xylon "wood" + phone "a sound" (see fame (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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