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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ There couldn't be many Charlotte Rossignols who happen also to play the oboe.
▪ A Congress of Passions was written in 1994 for counter-tenor, piano and oboe.
▪ He was a nice chap called Roland who entertained us with such finesse on his flute and oboe.
▪ The oboe tends to lose power and body in its upper register, but with the clarinet the opposite is the case.
▪ The strings unfold a sequence of shivery chords, and voice and oboe briefly entwine before the singer is left in solitude.
▪ There is more dicey woodwind intonation in the Eroica, and the oboe tone in the Funeral March curdles alarmingly.
▪ You can not imagine the glorious effect of a symphony with flutes, oboes and clarinets.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hautboy \Haut"boy\ (h[=o]"boi), n. [F. hautbois, lit., high wood; haut high + bois wood. So called on account of its high tone. See Haughty, Bush; and cf. Oboe.]

  1. (Mus.) A wind instrument, sounded through a reed, and similar in shape to the clarinet, but with a thinner tone. Now more commonly called oboe. See Illust. of Oboe.

  2. (Bot.) A sort of strawberry ( Fragaria elatior).

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1724, from Italian oboe, from phonetic spelling of Middle French hautbois (itself borrowed in English 16c. as hautboy), from haut "high, loud, high-pitched" (see haught) + bois "wood" (see bush (n.)). So called because it had the highest register among woodwind instruments. Related: Oboist.


n. A soprano and melody wind instrument in the modern orchestra and wind ensemble. It is a smaller instrument and generally made of grendilla wood. It is a member of the double reed family.


n. a slender double-reed instrument; a woodwind with a conical bore and a double-reed mouthpiece [syn: hautboy, hautbois]


Oboe and OBOE have several meanings:

  • The oboe, a musical instrument of the wood-wind family
  • Oboe (navigation), a World War II British aerial blind bombing targeting system
  • Oboe (software), a digital music backup service from MP3tunes
  • Off-by-one error (OBOE), a type of computer programming or mathematical error
Oboe (navigation)

Oboe was a British aerial blind bombing targeting system in World War II, based on radio transponder technology. The system consisted of a pair of radio transmitters on the ground, which sent signals which were received and retransmitted by a transponder in the aircraft. By comparing the time each signal took to reach the aircraft, the distance between the aircraft and the station could be determined. The Oboe operators then sent radio signals to the aircraft to bring them onto their target and properly time the release of their bombs.

The system was first used in December 1941 in short range attacks over France where the necessary line of sight could be maintained. To attack the valuable industrial targets in the Ruhr, only the De Havilland Mosquito flew high enough to be visible to the ground stations at that distance. Such operations began in 1942, when Mosquitos used Oboe both to mark targets for heavy bombers, as well as for direct attacks on high value targets. In an attack on 21 December 1942, Oboe guided bombers dropped over 50% of their bombs on the Krupp factories in Essen, an enormous improvement over previous efforts that resulted in less than 10% of bombs landing on their targets. Versions using shorter wavelengths demonstrated accuracy on the order of .

Oboe was most used during the Battle of the Ruhr in 1943, after which Bomber Command began moving its attention further eastward, out of Oboe range. For these raids new systems were used, notably increasingly accurate versions of H2S. Additionally, Oboe's limitation of guiding a single aircraft at a time led to the Gee-H system that placed the transponder on the ground and the readouts in the aircraft, allowing around 80 aircraft to use the service at once. Neither offered the accuracy of Oboe, however, which demonstrated the highest average bombing accuracy of any system in the war.

Usage examples of "oboe".

The swell organ has bourdon, open diapason, salicional, aeoline, stopped diapason, gemshorn, flute harmonique, flageolet, cornet--3 ranks, 183,--cornopean, oboe, vox humana--61 pipes each.

The kanoon and oud, both string instruments, combined with drums, violin, and the wooden claves to add depth, while the alternately feminine high and masculine low tones of the oboe provided a decidedly sexual connotation.

The retinue of Croton swelled from hour to hour until it formed a long double line that wound its way through the camp, at first to the sound of oboes and kettledrums only, but then a sort of choric chanting was developed, certain phrases were shouted loudly and repeatedly.

But more probably it was one of the older reed instruments of the oboe family, the pommer or possibly a schalmei.

Besides the gallant Ahab, the three companions sat puffing on the bow, Jonathan tut-tutting over the loss of the oboe gun.

The main features of the planning were long, northerly outward and return routes over Denmark and the Baltic which would be well away from most of the German night-fighter bases but would also reduce the bomb tonnage carried by the raiding force, and raids by Oboe Mosquitoes on four of the most important night-fighter airfields in Holland, this support being provided for the first time.

Reading him somehow suggests hearing a Bach mass rescored for two fifes, a tambourine in B, a wind machine, two tenor harps, a contrabass oboe, two banjos, eight tubas and the usual clergy and strings.

What chiefly lives in it are certain poignant phrases, certain eloquent bars, a glowing, winey bit of color here, a velvety phrase for the oboe or the clarinet, a sharp, brassy, pricking horn-call, a dreamy, wandering melody for the voice there.

I got my oboe and went to the room of Herr Hummel and from there we made our way, unseen by any, to the summer-house.

An autumn wind whistled through the upper towers of the sculpted sanctuary like the mournful notes of the shehnai, a Hindustani instrument not unlike an oboe.

She focused on voices as if they were music: the measured sonority of Tintinnabulum, the staccato excitement of Faber, the seesawing oboe tones of the bio-philosopher whose name Bellis could never remember.

Teutonic bore, that an unstated number of recorders would then perform some suitable item, and that at some later time Johns might be expected to produce music from his oboe.

Moving a hundred miles an hour faster and turning to approach from the north, the Mosquitoes - with their secret Oboe device - would pass over Krefeld three minutes earlier.

Oboe Mosquito arrived exactly on time over Krefeld and marked the real target with four perfectly placed reds.

The instruments were most probably lutes, viols, flute, oboe, and possibly bag-pipe, hurdy-gurdy and little organ.