Definition of balalaika in English:

balalaika

noun

  • A Russian musical instrument like a guitar with a triangular body and typically three strings.

    • ‘Daniil stroked his balalaika and Eddy sang, the way they always had.’
    • ‘On January 15, in Trafalgar Square there will be 500 singers and dancers (all in costume naturally), ice skaters, balalaikas, hot borsch, blini, and pirozhki.’
    • ‘Now he straightened his embroidered jerkin and fluffed his lace cuffs with a fastidious air, and the strings of the balalaika on his back sang gently as he shrugged.’
    • ‘The book is a rare collector's edition as it includes an original drawing of Winnie the Pooh in traditional Russian costume playing a balalaika.’
    • ‘Neither bards nor balalaikas really qualify as ‘emerging sounds’.’
    • ‘By the age of 4, he was able to play the balalaika, accordion, and guitar, and by 8, the oboe as well as the trombone and other brass instruments.’
    • ‘I tried it on a Russian friend; he knew it, of course, and when he hummed it, balalaikas accompanied him, icy winds whistled across the steppes, and in the simple melody there was the sadness of a million dispossessed kulaks.’
    • ‘We figure that the red instrument on the right is a balalaika.’
    • ‘We joined the ‘Lev Tolstoy’ ship and were welcomed with a piece of rather horrid salted bread and a glass of vodka, followed by some Russian entertainment featuring virtuoso balalaika playing.’
    • ‘One is a real contrabass balalaika, I brought it from Russia.’
    • ‘All the chorus writing, including some clarinet-led boat music in which strings imitate a balalaika, a wedding song that yields to anguish, some vigorous, aggressive Polish bravado, and the noble imperial finale, is dramatic and vivid.’
    • ‘Dr Zhivago comes to mind - there is even a theme identified with the heroine, although played on that ubiquitous mandolin rather than the balalaika.’
    • ‘Add 3 teaspoonfuls of Russian nationalism and voila - the balalaika hit the streets in a blaze and haze of string glory.’
    • ‘‘After the war,’ Brandark murmured, and the balalaika's soft notes were suddenly dark and discordant.’
    • ‘When his mother dies in the beginning of the story, he looks at her abandoned balalaika and hears what will become the incessant ‘Lara's Theme.’’
    • ‘It buzzes with life every night, and features a band with a phenomenal balalaika player that has practically everyone on their feet cheering.’
    • ‘You can hear every pure delightful twang and warble of every guitar, gadulka, balalaika and harp and in a couple of tracks a clarinet cuts the melody with a compelling slice of romance.’
    • ‘I watched Daniil, as I was sitting down the table from him, as he strummed the balalaika's strings like stroking a lover's hand.’
    • ‘‘We will get together to have something like borsch and vodka on the table, have Russian accordion and balalaika and a lot singing,’ she says excitedly.’
    • ‘A slow opening track, it reflects a reminiscent and reflective mood created by the atmospheric soundscape style of slow balalaika sounding guitars, heavy cymbal use, and acerbic but complementary vocals heard throughout the album.’

Origin

Late 18th century: from Russian, of Tatar origin.

Pronunciation

balalaika

/ˌbaləˈlʌɪkə/