Definition of harp in English:


Syllabification: harp
Pronunciation: /härp


1A musical instrument, roughly triangular in shape, consisting of a frame supporting a graduated series of parallel strings, played by plucking with the fingers. The modern orchestral harp has an upright frame, with pedals that enable the strings to be retuned to different keys.
More example sentences
  • On the modern harp, players pluck the strings near the middle with the pads of their fingers.
  • The angels are playing a collection of musical instruments, including the harp, tambourine, cymbals, lyre and psaltery.
  • Much of it has a suspended quality, of time stretched out, elongated, with overlapping waves of strummings that variously suggest guitars, harps, bells, and dulcimers constellating about a central drone.
2 another term for harmonica. Papa had been teaching him to play the blues harp
[short for mouth harp]
3 (also harp shell or harp snail) A marine mollusk that has a large vertically ribbed shell with a wide aperture, found chiefly in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Family Harpidae, class Gastropoda
More example sentences
  • The Harpa mollusc shares much in common with volutes and olives. All three families make up the Volutacea superfamily, all of which are active, carnivorous sand burrowers.
  • Harpa species, and probably also Morum species, live in sand and feed on small crabs.


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1Talk or write persistently and tediously on a particular topic: guys who are constantly harping on about the war
More example sentences
  • I know he hates it when I harp on about that, but I shall keep harping on about it until we get the answers.
  • To the protestations of my colleagues in the Labour Party, I say that I have been harping on about this issue for so long, and it has taken as long as this to get it to the House.
  • They have been harping on about being " a big club’ for 20 odd years, whilst languishing in the lower divisions.
2 archaic Play on a harp.


Old English hearpe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch harp and German Harfe.

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Pronunciation: ˈnɔɪs(ə)m
having an extremely offensive smell