Definition of harp in English:

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Pronunciation: /hɑːp/


Image of harp
1A musical instrument 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 which enable the strings to be retuned to different keys.
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 mollusc which has a large vertically ribbed shell with a wide aperture, found chiefly in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Family Harpidae, class Gastropoda.
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.


[no object]
1 (harp on) Talk or write persistently and tediously on (a particular topic): I don’t want to harp on about the past you need to stop harping on her age
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.
keep on about, go on about, persist in talking about, keep talking about, labour the point about, dwell on, expatiate on, elaborate on, expound on, make an issue of, discuss something at length;
complain repeatedly about, nag someone about, badger someone about
informal witter on about, rabbit on about, hassle someone about
2 archaic Play on a harp: among them harped the divine minstrel Demodocus


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

Words that rhyme with harp

Arp, carp, scarp, sharp, tarp

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: harp

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