Definition of mandolin in English:



  • 1A musical instrument resembling a lute, having paired metal strings plucked with a plectrum. It is played with a characteristic tremolo on long sustained notes.

    • ‘The harmonica music stopped and a trio of men with banjos, mandolins and guitars took over.’
    • ‘On this album she plays guitar, tenor guitar, mandolin and tenor banjo slightly more than she plays fiddle.’
    • ‘At a table not too far from where Maria, Erik and company were sitting, four men stood up; one with a mandolin, two with violins, and one who would be singing.’
    • ‘Set against a backdrop of strings, the mandolin sounds completely beautiful, providing an enticing blend of sadness and hope all at the same time.’
    • ‘It's got some double-bass, some mandolin, a steel-stringed acoustic guitar, a birdie chirping, and a little drummer boy towards the end.’
    • ‘We'll start with a riff on a guitar, mandolin, bass or drums, and work it up from there.’
    • ‘Our mandolins are of the highest quality available.’
    • ‘Steven Stone reviewed one of my mandolins for the November 2001 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine.’
    • ‘In this symphony we were treated to the unusual - but enjoyable - sounds of mandolin and guitar.’
    • ‘She arose and stepped over to a shelf of lutes and mandolins and removed a strange instrument.’
    • ‘The Montrealer's solo work is acoustic guitar-based with support from bass, drums, mandolin, strings and spare harmonies.’
    • ‘I too was intrigued by their charisma and their willingness as a rock group to bring out two sets of bongos and a mandolin amidst their guitars and drums.’
    • ‘Bolivian music also uses the charango, which is a cross between the mandolin, guitar, and banjo.’
    • ‘The Bayou Brothers sound features a variety of instruments including the double bass, harmonica, washboard, kazoo, jaw harp, guitar and mandolin.’
    • ‘Reading the literature, one can hear fiddles, wood flutes, bagpipes, guitar, mandolins and bodhráns.’
    • ‘Chris Aronsten is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, spoons and harmonica.’
    • ‘She had minimal skills on the oboe, French horn, guitar, viola, mandolin, and penny whistle.’
    • ‘Guitars and instruments, from double bass to tiny mandolins were ordered in and a new venture was born.’
    • ‘The songs are accompanied by guitar, mandolin, piano and the occasional glockenspiel and there is a good variety of each.’
    • ‘The two play all the instruments with a touch of help from John Rice of the Pine Valley Cosmonauts on mandolin and guitar.’
  • 2A kitchen utensil consisting of a flat frame with adjustable blades, for slicing vegetables.


Early 18th century: from French mandoline, from Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola (see mandola).