Definition of oboe in English:



  • 1A woodwind instrument with a double-reed mouthpiece, a slender tubular body, and holes stopped by keys.

    • ‘The sound is excellent for its age and the particular timbre of oboes, clarinets and bassoons accompanied by the battery of kettledrums has to be heard to be believed!’
    • ‘After the cor anglais, the oboe and the clarinet, the wind ensemble sings ‘Alleluia’ under a luminous haze of trills and harmonies in the strings.’
    • ‘It is a charming piece, and performers and concert-planners should note that it is helpfully and economically scored for an orchestra consisting of just two oboes, two bassoons and strings.’
    • ‘At the symposium, women danced and sang and performed on the double-reeded aulos (like an oboe or shawm), or lyre, having been hired, sometimes, on the street.’
    • ‘There are no cellos, a disproportionately large number of double-basses, and big brass and wind sections but no oboes and bassoons.’
    • ‘Other unique curiosities are the 3 Sonatas that the composer wrote for each of the main woodwind instruments; oboe, bassoon and clarinet, although those for cor anglais and flute never saw the light of day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How sad it would be to think that the oboe means just one instrument.’
    • ‘It's a concerto for the combination of instruments (horn, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) that appear solo in the program's other works.’
    • ‘Unlike most reunions where the focus is on sharing fond memories, these ladies showed up armed with oboes, clarinets and trombones ready to pick up where they left off more than 40 years ago.’
    • ‘Traditional bands include instruments that most closely resemble Western flutes, oboes, xylophones, and drums.’
    • ‘Our instruments - oboe d' amore and harpsichord, were made for each other.’
    • ‘He began playing the piano when he was five, then played a lot of different instruments in high school, including the oboe and the clarinet.’
    • ‘Classes will be offered for the violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, trumpet, trombone, and bassoon as well as composition and orchestral conduction.’
    • ‘They are indeed miniatures, as the entire set of eight take about eight minutes to perform by the pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, violins, violas, cellos and one horn.’
    • ‘Berckmans is still on board, and his oboe, bassoon and English horn remain a major part of the group's mediaeval chamber music sound.’
    • ‘It lay for me, somewhere between the voice and horn of that special performance of Britten's Serenade - rather than the oboe and the cor anglais, its immediate oboistic neighbours.’
    • ‘Regardless of whether the songs featured distorted guitars or oboes and clarinets, Downes' lyrical romanticism remained constant and fervent.’
    • ‘A 1900 train journey inspired Train Music, and Grainger envisioned it for a huge orchestra of 150 players, including 8 oboes and 6 bassoons.’
    • ‘The musical difficulty, the nasal quality of the tone and the fact that everyone tunes off the oboe gives double reed players an aura of snobbery; whether it's real or perceived depends on the player.’
    1. 1.1 An organ stop resembling an oboe in tone.


Early 18th century: from Italian, or from French hautbois, from haut ‘high’ + bois ‘wood’.