Definition of shawm in English:


Line breaks: shawm
Pronunciation: /ʃɔːm


A medieval and Renaissance wind instrument, forerunner of the oboe, with a double reed enclosed in a wooden mouthpiece, and having a penetrating tone.
More example sentences
  • The double reed consists of two blades of cane bound together (or a single blade folded over and cut at the fold to separate the two blades) so that they beat against each other, as on shawms, oboes, and bassoons.
  • Among the items recovered are gold coins, medical equipment, clothing and footwear, and a shawm, a medieval forerunner to the oboe and one of the oldest such musical instruments in the world.
  • ‘We play for as much of the journey as we can, and we tend to use our shawm band, the traditional outdoor band with the shawm (an early oboe) and the sackbut, or the shagbolt as it was marvellously called sometimes in ‘early’ England!’


Middle English: from Old French chalemel, via Latin from Greek kalamos 'reed'.

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