Definition of cembalo in English:


nounPlural cembalos

  • another term for harpsichord
    • ‘The instrumental ensemble he has assembled - the scores that have come down to us do not indicate instrumentation - consists of three violins, two violas, two cellos, two cembalos, two lutes, harp, two flutes, dulzian, and two cornets.’
    • ‘The right cembalo in the right hands provides a cleansing of the musical palate, enjoyable to the point of tears.’
    • ‘In the midst of the orchestra, the cembalo has been placed.’


Mid 19th century: from Italian, shortening of clavicembalo, from medieval Latin clavicymbalum, from Latin clavis ‘key’ + cymbalum ‘cymbal’.