Definition of sackbut in US English:



  • An early form of trombone used in Renaissance music.

    • ‘The Bassanos were particularly associated with the royal wind music, as players of recorders, sackbuts, and other wind instruments.’
    • ‘In this case, the instruments were two cornets, recorder, sackbut and theorbo, with the cornets and the sackbut falling away during the repeats to give a ‘thinning’ effect.’
    • ‘An accompaniment played by corneas and sackbuts would be unthinkable here, for they are the instruments of ceremony, and with its bitter text this is the antithesis of a ceremonial work.’
    • ‘The moment these records first appeared, pop groups were experimenting with sackbuts, rebecs and crumhorns.’
    • ‘We play for as much of the journey as we can, and we tend to use our shawm band, the traditional outdoor band with the shawm (an early oboe) and the sackbut, or the shagbolt as it was marvellously called sometimes in ‘early’ England!’
    • ‘The instrumental ensemble consists of seven string instruments, three sackbuts, and two organs (as with the voices, solo and ripieno).’
    • ‘That's because any festival, whether it celebrates the sackbut and crumhorn of early music, or the sword and society of the Vikings, brings in enthusiasts.’
    • ‘The result is a programme of genuine old fashioned carols, songs and dances, performed on shawms, sackbut, recorders, flutes, curtals, lutes, guitars, harp, bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy.’
    • ‘We know that corneas and sackbuts were used in the Chapel on special occasions even in Elizabethan times.’


Late 15th century: from French saquebute, from obsolete saqueboute ‘hook for pulling a man off a horse’, from saquer ‘to pull’ + bouter ‘to hit’.