Definition of dulcimer in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdəlsəmər/


(also hammered dulcimer)
Image of dulcimer
1A musical instrument with a sounding board or box, typically trapezoidal in shape, over which strings of graduated length are stretched, played by being struck with handheld hammers.
Example sentences
  • Using anything from toy piano, guitars and dulcimer to synthesisers and Stylophone, the pair continuously change the aspect of their music while keeping with the overall theme.
  • Very early on, I was attracted to the sounds of stringed instruments like the dulcimer and mandolin, which were commonly played in that part of the country.
  • Silk zither and dulcimer with strings are the most common traditional musical instruments.
1.1 (Appalachian dulcimer) A musical instrument with a long rounded body and a fretted fingerboard, played by bowing, plucking, and strumming. Also called mountain dulcimer.
Example sentences
  • Mountain dulcimers are lightweight wooden instruments with only three or four strings; they look like guitars on a diet.
  • A local musician taught rounds and accompanied the girls on a mountain dulcimer one year; a cabin neighbor was a special guest, telling true stories of bears and mountain lions from the area.
  • The mountain dulcimer I made many long years ago, which provides entertainment as well as sacred music, has unicorns, stars, and moons carved in it for the sound holes.


Late 15th century: from Old French doulcemer, probably from Latin dulce melos 'sweet melody'.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.