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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A young fellow strummed on a mandolin and a woman sang a Hebrew song.
▪ And since the mandolin has a different tuning to the guitar, it gives you a different chord voicing to everybody else.
▪ Brown learned to play guitar, violin, harmonica, piano, mandolin, viola and drums.
▪ Gish died in 1993, but the mandolin is still with us.
▪ They had no mandolin but Ollie's guitar would do.
▪ This can be done with the slicer blade of a food processor or a mandolin.
▪ Try comparing a plucked note on a violin and on a mandolin and you will certainly notice the difference.
▪ Yet the solo mandolin enjoyed a now-forgotten renaissance between about 1885 and 1920.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mandolin \Man"do*lin\, Mandoline \Man"do*line\, n. [F. mandoline, It. mandolino, dim. of mandola, fr. L. pandura. See Bandore.] (Mus.) A small and beautifully shaped instrument resembling the lute.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1707, from French mandoline, from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola, a larger kind of mandolin, altered from Late Latin pandura "three-stringed lute," from Greek pandoura, which is of unknown origin.


n. 1 (context music English) A stringed instrument and a member of the lute family, having eight strings in four courses, frequently tuned as a violin. They have either a bowl back or a flat back. 2 A kitchen tool used for slicing vegetables (usually spelled mandoline). 3 (context military English) An RAF World War II code name for patrols to attack enemy railway transport and other ground targets.


n. a stringed instrument related to the lute, usually played with a plectrum


A mandolin ( ; literally "small mandola") is a musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum or "pick". It commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison (8 strings), although five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) course versions also exist. The courses are normally tuned in a succession of perfect fifths. It is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.

There are many styles of mandolin, but three are common, the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. The round-back has a deep bottom, constructed of strips of wood, glued together into a bowl. The carved-top or arch-top mandolin has a much shallower, arched back, and an arched top—both carved out of wood. The flat-backed mandolin uses thin sheets of wood for the body, braced on the inside for strength in a similar manner to a guitar. Each style of instrument has its own sound quality and is associated with particular forms of music. Neapolitan mandolins feature prominently in European classical music and traditional music. Carved-top instruments are common in American folk music and bluegrass music. Flat-backed instruments are commonly used in Irish, British and Brazilian folk music. Some modern Brazilian instruments feature an extra fifth course tuned a fifth lower than the standard fourth course.

Other mandolin varieties differ primarily in the number of strings and include four-string models (tuned in fifths) such as the Brescian and Cremonese, six-string types (tuned in fourths) such as the Milanese, Lombard and the Sicilian and 6 course instruments of 12 strings (two strings per course) such as the Genoese. There has also been a twelve-string (three strings per course) type and an instrument with sixteen-strings (four strings per course).

Much of mandolin development revolved around the soundboard (the top). Pre-mandolin instruments were quiet instruments, strung with as many as six courses of gut strings, and were plucked with the fingers or with a quill. However, modern instruments are louder—using four courses of metal strings, which exert more pressure than the gut strings. The modern soundboard is designed to withstand the pressure of metal strings that would break earlier instruments. The soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. There is usually one or more sound holes in the soundboard, either round, oval, or shaped like a calligraphic F (f-hole). A round or oval sound hole may be covered or bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling.

Usage examples of "mandolin".

The other instrumentation was mostly fiddles, flutes, and whistles, but there were also a pair of mandolins, a guitar, bodhrans, and the inevitable tenor banjo playing too loud above it all.

He would go to the coffeehouses and tell, with touching charm, of his life, of his sometime brilliance, of the distinguished ladies and the serenades and mandolin concerts in Zante.

They had stopped when her pretty postcards, with the roses and mandolins worked in silk on them, had stopped.

There were about four pianos scattered throughout the big house to say nothing of the celesta, the organ, guitars, mandolins, fiddles and what not.

And when things got going, three or four pianos at once, the celesta, the organ, the mandolins, the guitars, beer running through the halls, the mantelpieces full of sandwiches and cigars, a breeze coming through from the garden, George Neumiller stripped to the waist and modulating like a fiend, it was better than any show I've ever seen put on and it didn't cost a cent.

He kicked it with the side of his hoof, and Mandolin reared on her hind legs to butt it with her head in the general direction of Zampogna, who couldn‘t take control and watched helplessly as Kekese of the Sharp team kicked it to Clavecin, who headed off toward the Flat’s goal.

He stood the mandolin upright against the wall, set his pack, his cloak and the belt bag, and then his weapons before it, then sat back.

An occasional bull fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, or banjo lent spice to some of the meetings, but even without them the dances went fine.

We brought Roses fiddle, my banjo, Toms mandolin, and Jamies six-string, one bundle of bedding each, a coffee maker, coffee, and cocoa powder.

I was a professional, of course, and I can handle several instruments - not badly, either, if I say so myself - but Chuck's a good hand on the mandolin and Judy can do wonders with a bodhran drum, and Dorothy is a piper, and plays a mean tenor banjo as well, and most of my old coveners can carry a tune.

He could visualise the patterned patrol of his fingers on the fretboard of the mandolin, he could hear the disciplined notes ringing from the treble, singing the praise of Pelagia as they also portrayed her wrath and her resistance.

And this is Gunter Weber, a German boy, and I don't know what happened in him, and this is Carlo who was as big as Kyrios Velisarios, and it's him who's buried at the old house, he was so kind and he had his own sadness that he didn't mention, and these are the boys of La Scala, singing, all drunk, and that's the olive tree before it split, and that's Kokolios and Stamatis, the funny stories I could tell you about them, old enemies, always fighting about the King and Communism, but the best of friends, and this is Alekos, he's still alive you know, older than Methuselah, still looking after his goats, and that's the Peloponnisos from the top of Mt Aenos, and that's Ithaca if you just turn round in the same place, and that's Antonio, he was the best mandolin player in the world, and I was going to marry him but he was killed, and between you and me I've never got over it, and it's his ghost that comes round the bend at the old village and then disappears .

A little musical group-a violin, a mandolin and an accordion-played quietly over in the corner of the large living room.

But then, it's hard to be gloomy with a fiddle and mandolin belting out reels, and dancers jigging up and down like Nijinsky with a neurological disorder.

Oligarro's mandolin and Holiyi's pan pipes and young Sinboro on his drums .