Student Dictionary

One entry found for oboe.
Main Entry: oboe
Pronunciation: primarystressomacr-bomacr
Function: noun
Etymology: from Italian oboe "oboe," from French hautbois (same meaning), from haut "high" and bois "wood"
: a musical instrument in the form of a slender tube that has a distinctive bright sound and that is played by blowing into a mouthpiece holding two reeds
- obo·ist /primarystressomacr-secondarystressbomacr-schwast/ noun
Word History The musical instrument we now call an oboe was developed in France in the 17th century. The French called it a hautbois, a word pronounced something like English "o boy" and made up of haut, meaning "high," and bois, meaning "wood." The hautbois was the highest pitched member of a group of woodwind instruments played with a reed. For a time the English simply used the French word for the instrument. Sometimes they spelled it hautbois, sometimes hautboy, and sometimes they changed the spelling to oboy or hoboy. Meanwhile, the Italians took the French word as oboe, a spelling closer to the way they pronounced it. In the 18th century it became fashionable in England to prefer Italian musical terms. The English then started using the form oboe instead of hautbois, and so oboe is the form we use today.
[oboe illustration]

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