One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A type of early three-stringed instrument resembling the violin.
Middle English. Apparently from Middle French rebeble, apparently a blend of rebibe and Old French, Middle French rebelle, a variant of rebibe with dissimilation; alternatively, the English word may perhaps (although attested earlier) show an alteration of ribibe by association with the musical terms treble, quatreble, and quinible, although these are all first attested later, and the semantic match is not exact. The some forms may reflect Middle French rebelle, or may simply show reduced forms.
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