Definition of concertina in English:



  • 1A small musical instrument, typically polygonal in form, played by stretching and squeezing between the hands, to work a central bellows that blows air over reeds, each note being sounded by a button.

    Compare with accordion
    • ‘Their lineup includes concertina, accordion, bass, drums, and two trumpets, but they also feature guitars and trombones.’
    • ‘All varieties of accordion (including the concertina and the bandoneon) have been made in both double and single-action models.’
    • ‘She plays tin whistle, Irish flute, concertina, button accordion and keyboards.’
    • ‘The two main radar booms are 20-metre long hollow cylinders, of 2.5 centimetres diameter, folded up in a box like a concertina (accordion).’
    • ‘Music workshops will be held in flute, fiddle, bodhrán, concertina and button accordion with highly talented musicians as tutors.’
    • ‘Loretto is a multi-talented musician and composer specialising in tin whistle, flute, concertina and button accordion.’
    • ‘When fortunate, the dancers might be accompanied by a local brigade of bagpipes, fiddles and concertinas.’
    • ‘Randy Krajewski, who plays accordion, bass, concertina, and piano and sings, appears to be the driving force behind this homage, and the band pulls it off nearly flawlessly.’
    • ‘Under the English system the concertina is played like the piano accordion, with the same note being played in both directions, push and pull.’
    • ‘Over in the Marist Hall that evening is a recital at 8pm for: accordions, concertinas, guitars and traditional singing.’
    • ‘There was an out of tune upright piano - people played banjo, concertinas and cornets.’
    • ‘The ensemble consists of accordions, concertina, guitars, bodhráns and tin whistles and they also have several dancers.’
    • ‘A concertina is a sort of retarded accordion - if one can imagine anything less intellectually stimulating than an accordion.’
    • ‘This traditional singer, guitarist and concertina and melodeon player was born in Norfolk and is based in Yorkshire after a spell in Ireland.’
    • ‘The instruments available are fiddles, flutes, banjos, concertinas, accordions, a melodeon and a practice set of uillean pipes.’
    • ‘It is hoped to bring in tutors for other instruments such as concertina or button accordion should the need arise.’
    • ‘Her repertoire now includes some 16 instruments such as saxophone, clarinet, bass guitar, piano, concertina and hammer dulcimer, plus she's got a killer folk voice.’
    • ‘The apartment block is marginally less austere, stepping back as it rises over 10 storeys with faceted bay windows like concertinas animating the wall plane.’
    • ‘He applied all this knowledge to his invention of the concertina, a completely new musical instrument that used air but eliminated breathing.’
    • ‘The band has a strong emphasis on vocals and harmony with guitarists, concertina, keyboard, accordion and harmonica backing.’
    1. 1.1as modifier Opening or closing in multiple folds.
      ‘concertina doors’
      • ‘Power showers, concertina shower doors and glass shelving have been added to create maximum comfort.’
      • ‘Even the thin can't escape the waist/belly concertina effect that happens after a certain age when you sit down.’
      • ‘Her striking red concertina skirts may have been for show, but they certainly added pizazz to the latter part of her collection.’
      • ‘The other two layers show angles of 50-60 deg as would be predicted by the hydrostatic skeleton model of internal concertina locomotion in caecilians.’
      • ‘It had a rattling concertina door that needed a sharp tug to close, mahogany panelling and a mirror so you could check yourself before knocking at one of the massive doors.’
      • ‘Under a hazy sky, detainees rushed to the edge of concertina wire fences, their raggedy clothes flapping in the wind, many giving thumbs-down gestures to the convoy.’
      • ‘We dug bunkers and trenches, filled sandbags and constructed multiple rows of triple concertina wire.’
      • ‘The toughest resistance in Homesh came at a religious seminary, where troops protected by shields used wire cutters to cut lengths of concertina wire that resisters had placed around the roof's perimeter.’
      • ‘Two of them have automatic doors but the service elevator has concertina doors.’
      • ‘The boot, with a 500-litre capacity, is a double-decker with a false floor, which can be folded, concertina style, to reveal a handy hideaway for valuable bits and pieces.’
      • ‘The family room is on the right and has a bay window overlooking the front garden as well as a concertina door to the kitchen.’
      • ‘They set up concertina wire here around the perimeter area here.’
      • ‘His eyes darted nervously back and forth between the protesters and the tense-looking Marines inside the cordon of concertina wire.’
      • ‘On a number of wards bathrooms were separated only by a small curtain or concertina door from the main ward.’
      • ‘A simple single-storey pavilion is enclosed by folded concertina walls and roof, prompting irresistible comparisons with origami.’
      • ‘Because we were in the open without any facilities around, the detainees were temporarily being held on a patch of desert closed off by concertina wire.’
      • ‘Gas build-up in front of a possible blockage within the bowel, concertina bowel (string foreign body) or ground glass appearance on x-ray indicating ruptured bowel are among the signs that can give the vet clues.’
      • ‘It's a beautifully packaged CD, a box set with each disc coming in an minimalist envelope. the liner is eight pages, concertina style, mainly of pictures, mainly in bold colours, and then a dense list of credits.’
      • ‘I'll spare you my own thoughts on the event itself; several miles and a lot of concertina wire separate me from that spot on the map.’
      • ‘Multiple section bindings sewn directly into covers, onto concertina pleats and strap supports will extend ideas beyond the pamphlet.’


  • Extend, compress, or collapse in folds like those of a concertina.

    ‘big rolls of concertinaed wire’
    figurative ‘a request that the negotiations be concertinaed into a week-long session’
    • ‘Social networks can concertina in and out depending upon the level of risk and uncertainty confronted by a community.’
    • ‘The front is concertinaed and starting to rust.’
    • ‘The grumpy dog was concertinaed into a tiny corner of the boot.’
    • ‘‘We're going to see the market concertina down,’ he said.’
    • ‘It has concertinaed the world without engendering the necessary respect, recognition and tolerance that must accompany it.’
    • ‘The select committee process is being unnecessarily concertinaed.’
    • ‘The prejudice is unsurprising; one of the inevitabilities of having to read more than a hundred novels concertinaed over a summer is that novels without much plot tend to languish.’
    • ‘Dominic's trousers slid down his legs, concertinaed around his feet.’
    • ‘On the ground floor the large, bright drawing room has a period granite fireplace and wooden partition doors, which concertina back to reveal the formal dining room.’
    • ‘It was this quick thinking that prevented the craft from being concertinaed against the mound of rubble it had crashed into.’
    • ‘He gives the example of filming in the Arctic, taking vision collected over, say, six months, and then concertinaing the images into an hour-long program.’
    • ‘In one area of the compound lies a massive pile of concertinaed cars and burnt-out trucks, the flattened metal detritus of the brutal siege.’
    • ‘Then, eight or 10 vehicles ahead, there was reason to slow down - we couldn't see why - so everyone dutifully braked and gaps in the line concertinaed.’
    • ‘When it's under pressure and you do have routines that you must meet and schedules you know you have to do things, you have to concertina all of these good intentions often and often they won't agree with you.’
    • ‘This would prevent the situation now developing of matches being concertinaed as the weekend approaches, a gross injustice to players.’
    • ‘They haven't got the legs or the time to get to us, but the Aussies respond and the race begins to concertina up again.’
    • ‘It was in our own hands and we could have made it easy for ourselves had we gone away unbeaten but unfortunately this result just concertinas everything up.’
    • ‘Another concertinaed together ghost-writing, biographical writing and the formation of literary movements, as collaborative processes of the same ilk.’
    • ‘My car was pushed from both ends - it has been concertinaed.’
    • ‘My car was concertinaed and the doors wouldn't open, so I wound the window down and jumped out while there were still cars skidding and coming to a standstill.’
    crush, squash, compact, compress
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from concert + -ina.