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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dul·ci·mer

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.