Definition of ophicleide in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɒfɪklʌɪd/


An obsolete bass brass instrument with keys, used in bands in the 19th century but superseded by the tuba.
Example sentences
  • After early lessons on the ophicleide, an instrument for which he seems to have shown little aptitude, he turned to the flute, studying with Kuhlau.
  • Happily, the ophicleide is much more predictable than the serpent, and it is possible to show a fairly typical fingering pattern that will work with most examples of the instrument.


Mid 19th century: from French ophicléide, from Greek ophis 'serpent' + kleis, kleid- 'key'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ophi|cleide

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.