December 22, 2018
xylophone (noun)
\ZYE-luh-fohn\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a musical instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars varying in length and sounded by striking with two wooden hammers
How do you use it?
The main differences between the xylophone, the vibraphone, and the marimba are range and the materials used to make their bars.
Are you a word wiz?

Everyone knows that just as "A" is for "apple," "X" is for "xylophone." But not everyone knows what the combining form "xylo-" in "xylophone" means. Think about the instrument and try to pick out the answer that identifies the meaning of "xylo-."

"Xylo-" is ultimately from the Greek word "xylon," meaning "wood." "Xylophone" combines "xylo-" with another root derived from Greek, "-phone," meaning "sound." While "-phone" is used in many other words (think of "telephone," "saxophone," and "microphone"), "xylo-" isn't. The only other common word using "xylon" as its root is "xylem," a word for the part of a plant's stem that carries water and nutrients to the top of the plant.
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