One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A lutelike medieval stringed instrument, forerunner of the guitar.
- ‘By this time most gitterns were depicted with three, or more commonly four, courses of strings, but with a different tuning from that of the lute.’
- ‘For additional information about gitterns, visit the Gittern section of the Early String Instruments page.’
- ‘However, gitterns more frequently had frets, flat fingerboards, and flat bridges.’
- ‘A gittern, most musicologists have come to agree, was the earliest form of what we know today as a guitar.’
- ‘There is definite documentary evidence that both the citole and the gittern were normally strung in gut.’
Late Middle English: from Old French guiterne; perhaps related to cittern and guitar.
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