Definition of cello in English:



  • A bass instrument of the violin family, held upright on the floor between the legs of the seated player.

    • ‘The Mayo Strings is an all-string orchestra - violins, violas, cellos and double bass - based in Castlebar, but including players from around the county.’
    • ‘More than 250 years after his death, Antonio Stradivari's violins and cellos are the best in the world.’
    • ‘Up to a dozen of these particular clamps would be used when gluing up the body of a cello or a bass viol.’
    • ‘Orchestral openings build over time into driving rock anthems; violins and cellos give way to guitars and basses.’
    • ‘We also have access to other instruments, including cor anglais, bass clarinet, cello, organ and voice.’
    • ‘Live cello and double bass were essential components of their performance.’
    • ‘In the 1812 Overture, Karajan has a famous Russian choir intone the Russian Orthodox hymn normally given to violas and cellos.’
    • ‘I once tried to write a string quartet that eliminated violins completely - two violas and two cellos - before my professor made me revise it for the standard combo in the name of greater color variation.’
    • ‘It consists of a bass line only, which is to be played on instruments such as the cello, viola de gamba, double-bass or bassoon.’
    • ‘Although his work makes good use of electronics, Ayres actually focuses his attention on his classical background and bases his compositions on processed sounds sourced from cellos, violins and pianos.’
    • ‘On this recording, there are nine violins, three violas, three cellos, a double bass, one flute, three oboes, one bassoon, three trumpets, a set of timpani, and a harpsichord.’
    • ‘Music students ranging in ages from four to 18 took part in the protest and carried with them their instruments ranging from violins, cellos and clarinets to flutes and guitars.’
    • ‘The dedication required to master a stringed instrument such as the cello or violin is no small consideration.’
    • ‘Two thirds of the children had some musical experience and those with orchestral skills played violins, clarinets, cellos, flutes and saxophones.’
    • ‘For me, the violin and the cello sonatas share many of the glories of that cycle.’
    • ‘The melody slid smoothly along, minor chords predominating, building on a soft, tentative base of gentle violins and cellos.’
    • ‘It was the composers of the late 18th century who created the precursor of the modern orchestra based on a more standardized string group of two violin parts, violas, cellos, and double bass, still with a keyboard continuo.’
    • ‘When he died in 1992, Cage had not completed One, which apparently was scored for cello with three prerecorded cellos.’
    • ‘Perversely, the massed violins, violas and cellos can sometimes sound uncannily like a lone synthesiser.’
    • ‘Benjamin Hudson, the solo violinist in the Haydn concerto that opened the evening, splendidly carried forward the tragic final interplay between violins and cellos.’
    violin, viola, cello, double bass
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: shortening of violoncello.