Definition of timbal in English:


(also tymbal)


  • 1archaic A kettledrum.

    • ‘Ralph Irizarry, recognized worldwide as an excellent percussionist, first fell in love with the timbal at an early age when his father coincidentally brought home a set received as payment for a debt.’
    • ‘The timbals beat time dully, and the exhausted guests, overcome by drunkenness, nausea and vertigo, became silent.’
    • ‘The percussion group is usually made up of timbals, drums, plates and bass drums and cymbals.’
  • 2Entomology
    A membrane that forms part of the sound-producing organ in various insects, such as the cicada.

    • ‘Females of many cicadas whose males have exposed timbals lay their eggs only in living twigs or branches and their eggs hatch the same year as laid.’
    • ‘These ‘songs’ result from the vibration of their drum-like abdominal membranes (timbals).’
    • ‘Within a day or two, the adult males begin their cacophonous chorusing, producing sound by vibrating abdominal drums called timbals.’
    • ‘Cicada sounds are produced by a pair of timbals (also spelled tymbals).’


Late 17th century: from French timbale, alteration (influenced by cymbale ‘cymbal’) of obsolete tamballe, from Spanish atabal, from Arabic aṭ-ṭabl ‘the drum’.