Definition of flute in English:



  • 1A wind instrument made from a tube with holes that are stopped by the fingers or keys, held vertically or horizontally (in which case it is also called a transverse flute) so that the player's breath strikes a narrow edge. The modern orchestral form is a transverse flute, typically made of metal, with an elaborate set of keys.

    • ‘Two thirds of the children had some musical experience and those with orchestral skills played violins, clarinets, cellos, flutes and saxophones.’
    • ‘Dances for these occasions were performed while wearing ankle bells and were accompanied by traditional instruments such as flutes, horns, and drums.’
    • ‘Using a variety of home-made instruments including bamboo flutes, the pupils performed a musical piece in the Minister's honour, based on sounds of the rainforest.’
    • ‘The satyr's hands are raised as if to play a flute, yet the instrument itself is not represented.’
    • ‘A wooden flute trills what sounds like an Eastern melody.’
    • ‘Trained listeners can not only distinguish between the different families of instruments but even recognize individual violins, flutes, clarinets, etc.’
    • ‘Richard started playing music with his peers in high school and produced his first handmade flute at 17 which started him on his exploration into the wholeness of sound.’
    • ‘He is a multiple award-winning composer who has written numerous compositions for flute and other orchestra instruments.’
    • ‘Drums and the flute were the musical instruments of the Indians before the Spanish conquest.’
    • ‘We had people trying saxophone, cello, flutes, recorders, piano and all sorts.’
    • ‘Wooden flutes lay on top of an old-fashioned writing desk, and a lute leaned against a far wall.’
    • ‘The traditional instruments are bagpipes, reed flutes, drums, and wind instruments.’
    • ‘It is foolish to try and figure out which is the most important instrument in an orchestra - the violin, the flute or the clarinet.’
    • ‘Reading the literature, one can hear fiddles, wood flutes, bagpipes, guitar, mandolins and bodhráns.’
    • ‘Ancient instruments used for court music include zithers, flutes, reed instruments, and percussion.’
    • ‘The traditional Japanese flute weaved its soulful melody.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Over the next hour she will transport the children with Highland stories about seal folk and bad fairies and music from her collection of wooden and bamboo flutes.’
    • ‘I can play an instrument, the flute, but if I could choose again it would have to be a piano, and I swear I'm going to learn the Ukelele by the time I go to Blackpool next year!’
    • ‘Some merchants have cassettes and CDs for sale, and more than a few offer handcrafted instruments, usually flutes made from wood or clay, but also more elaborate stringed instruments.’
    whistle, penny whistle, flute, recorder, fife
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    1. 1.1An organ stop with wooden or metal flue pipes producing a tone similar to that of a flute.
      • ‘A colorful Swell Oboe and Vox Humana provide the organ with attractive solo voices; the latter adds a mystical contribution to the strings and flutes of the organ.’
      • ‘After intermission, the musicians began gently with pieces featuring the organ's flute stops and a quartet of recorders.’
      • ‘In Petrusberg, South Africa, churchgoers voted not to get rid of a friend - a cobra who lived in the ceiling, always came out to listen when the organist played the organ's flute stops, fled back to its hole when the preaching started.’
  • 2Architecture
    An ornamental vertical groove in a column.

    • ‘This capital cannot be associated with the plain marble drum because of its size and the flutes on the necking.’
    • ‘The semielliptical fanlight over the entrance door is framed by a wooden arch neatly carved with flutes and stylized flowers.’
    • ‘A more elaborate Doric capital of white marble, with flutes on the necking, is stored west of the building, to the west of the marble throne in room A.’
    • ‘The inscriber removed two of the column's flutes, so that five hexameters of verse could be carved upon the marble.’
    • ‘It was yellowish-brown, and it collected in the flutes of the column.’
    1. 2.1A trumpet-shaped frill on a dress or other garment.
      • ‘Flute skirts emphasise the waist.’
      • ‘On this page look out for the dropped waist bodice, above knee skirt lengths that begin to hesitate and gain illusory length with the addition of flutes and frills.’
      • ‘The skirt has seven gores, the seams being concealed by rolling flutes which result from plaits underfolded below the hips.’
      • ‘Whether it's flute hem, a-lines, or high-waisted pencils, we have the skirt for you.’
      • ‘I am absolutely the modern day version of a dame with flute skirts and heels.’
      ruffle, flounce, ruff, furbelow, jabot, peplum, flute, ruche, ruching, gather, tuck, fringe
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  • 3A tall, narrow wine glass.

    ‘a flute of champagne’
    • ‘Inside, waiters were seen serving guests with flutes of champagne, while deliveries of sushi and presents were taken through the main entrance.’
    • ‘If you don't own cocktail glasses, champagne flutes are a good substitute.’
    • ‘I began to take photographs of the food on the table, the champagne flutes towering behind the chocolate truffles that I was already dying to eat.’
    • ‘Everything from plastic cups, empty beer bottles, used disposable coffee cups, to wine glasses and champagne flutes can be found at the exhibit.’
    • ‘Amid the hairspray bottles and eye-shadow palettes littering the tables lay overturned plastic champagne flutes.’
    • ‘Not today, but sometime shortly, I will drink a flute of champagne to you Charlie and express the wish that you will be around for many more years to celebrate many more birthdays.’
    • ‘Her hand gently motions for David's still full flute.’
    • ‘Champagne is best served in a tall flute or tulip glasses.’
    • ‘Serve the champagne, preferably in flutes, filling each glass no more than halfway to allow the wine to breathe.’
    • ‘What normally happens is they fall to the floor by accident with their champagne flutes in their hands and remain down there, flopping around, chatting and laughing hysterically for quite a bit of time.’
    • ‘We are soon surrounded by towels and vases and champagne flutes and all sorts of other gifts.’
    • ‘Newlyweds can pick either a starter set of Wedgewood china or a crystal set of eight wine goblets and champagne flutes from Waterford, with a retail value of $440.’
    • ‘His crystal champagne flute was smashed into several million pieces.’
    • ‘Guests have been asked for eight sherry glasses, eight champagne flutes, eight whisky tumblers, eight brandy goblets and two decanters.’
    • ‘I picked up the champagne flutes, appreciating the finely cut crystal stems - they were so elegant.’
    • ‘The champagne flute is tall and narrow to slow the loss of the CO2 bubbles, to keep it from going ‘flat’ for as long as possible.’
    • ‘Bubbly was had with lunch in plastic champagne flutes.’
    • ‘Now everyone's in a movie, or a TV show, drinking champagne out of long flutes on a Friday night.’
    • ‘The cupboards containing the champagne, bucket, and flutes have also been highlighted.’
    • ‘Sparkling wines should be served in thick glasses with straight sides or flutes so that the fizz is preserved.’


  • 1literary [no object] Play a flute or pipe.

    • ‘When the corn began to grow the chief put up his altar, sang and fluted, but he did all that alone.’
    • ‘When he reached the river's edge, he came to a sharp halt, but his fingers fluted on, the instrument still tuneful.’
    1. 1.1Speak in a melodious way.
      ‘‘What do you do?’ she fluted’
      • ‘Her voice is particularly attractive: fluted and clear, kinder than the hard-edged Sloane of caricature and, most importantly, never sneering.’
      • ‘In fluting, childish voices, they spoke of their compassion for the poor and homeless.’
      • ‘"They are doing so much more work, preventing so much more illness, and treating patients much better!" she fluted.’
      • ‘We could clearly hear the high fluting voice of Toni, and the calmer, flatter tones of Sid.’
      • ‘There are no melodramatic trills or fluting crescendos in her everyday speech.’
  • 2[with object] Make flutes or grooves in.

    • ‘In 1773-84 the whole church was remodelled in eighteenth - century taste, the columns of the choir were fluted, the apse and doors were finished in Louis XVI style.’
    • ‘The large diameter rolls were fluted to give traction to the feed, and provided with a quick acting-lever operated mechanism for raising or lowering the rolls.’
    • ‘Neoclassical commodes, desks, and some chairs had fluted tapered legs reminiscent of upside-down obelisks.’
    • ‘He began by adding a light Baroque facade with pilasters and massive fluted columns at the main, upper tier, topped by a balustrade with vases and statues.’
    • ‘Fluted columns supported the ceiling in two rows, like massive redwoods.’
    • ‘The imposing entrance portico supported by six fluted Doric columns was probably the first exercise in classicism in Deadwood.’
    • ‘A lovely wall of stone and brick layers and fluted coping stones, with yew above, brought us into the Roman town of Isurium, now Aldborough.’
    • ‘Runoff from countless storms has worn the 50-to 60-foot-tall pink sandstone walls smooth, fluting some of its sections.’
    • ‘In all the caves they were surrounded by beautifully fluted and fretted columns whose pure white frosted surfaces shone out like beacons in the harsh magnesium light of their lanterns.’
    • ‘"The rising white fluted columns supporting the two exquisite domes are special to that era, " he said.’
    • ‘These are supported by small round-arched and fluted flying buttresses topped by figurines of scroll-bearing prophets.’
    • ‘In some places both fingers from the roof and the floor had joined and formed columns, some fluted, some smooth, which glowed peach or filigree rose when the torchlight fell upon them.’
    • ‘The new space was panelled throughout, and fluted Corinthian columns and pilasters were added.’
    • ‘The windows of this room-the most formal in the house-are framed at the sides and top by wood that has been fluted to resemble Greek columns.’
    • ‘On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to form a thin circle or rectangle, place it on a lightly greased baking sheet or tin, and lip or flute the edge.’
    • ‘There were fluted columns on either side of the broad mahogany double-doors, and they were twined with ivy.’
    • ‘The smaller one is delicately fluted and covered in mosaic.’
    • ‘A glaze highlights detailing in the ginger-stained doors and fluted columns.’
    • ‘You walk into the house on shiny wooden floors, topped by rounded skirtings and fluted ceiling with subtle, concealed lighting.’
    • ‘Finally we were able to descend near to the seafloor, which was littered with fallen chimneys, each several feet in diameter and fluted like a column of a Greek temple.’
    grooved, channelled, furrowed, ribbed, corrugated, ridged
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Middle English: from Old French flahute, probably from Provençal flaüt, perhaps a blend of flaujol flageolet + laüt lute.