Definition of spinet in English:


Line breaks: spi¦net
Pronunciation: /spɪˈnɛt
, ˈspɪnɪt


1 historical A small harpsichord with the strings set obliquely to the keyboard, popular in the 18th century.
More example sentences
  • In the spinet, the strings run obliquely away from the player, producing a wing-shaped case, or a trapezoid case in smaller instruments.
  • Sarah was fond of music and played the spinet (a musical instrument like a small harpsichord).
  • It will include harpists, a soprano soloist accompanied by the flute and spinet and music by Mozart as well as other lesser-known composers.
2US A type of small upright piano.
More example sentences
  • These baby baby grands and tiny spinets produce three octaves from hammers hitting metal rods.
  • Two pictures feature color TV sets, and one couple poses in front of a spinet piano, a very rare object in a Chinese household.
  • According to her artist's statement, when she was a young girl, she demanded a piano; her parents bought a spinet piano for her, and her nursery school teacher gave her instruction.


mid 17th century: shortening of obsolete French espinette, from Italian spinetta 'virginal, spinet', diminutive of spina 'thorn' (see spine), the strings being plucked by quills.

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Word of the day retroflex
Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
turned backwards