Definition of spinet in English:

spinet

noun

  • 1historical A small harpsichord with the strings set obliquely to the keyboard, popular in the 18th century.

    • ‘It will include harpists, a soprano soloist accompanied by the flute and spinet and music by Mozart as well as other lesser-known composers.’
    • ‘Matteo Ricci had brought with him a spinet, other Jesuits brought violins and flutes, cellos and bassoons and manuals on music styles.’
    • ‘I can practically see at the spinet my Aunt Ida sliding into ‘Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar.’’
    • ‘Sarah was fond of music and played the spinet (a musical instrument like a small harpsichord).’
    • ‘In the spinet, the strings run obliquely away from the player, producing a wing-shaped case, or a trapezoid case in smaller instruments.’
  • 2US A type of small upright piano.

    • ‘In the great central panel of the Agliardi triptych, a guitar lies strings-down on a spinet and knife and, with a bowl of fruit deposited on top of it, becomes an impromptu piece of furniture.’
    • ‘Before recordings were available, people had to wait to hear wonderfully performed music; at home, people either went without or made their own, at parlor spinet pianos or on the porch with guitar and banjo.’
    • ‘According to her artist's statement, when she was a young girl, she demanded a piano; her parents bought a spinet piano for her, and her nursery school teacher gave her instruction.’
    • ‘Two pictures feature color TV sets, and one couple poses in front of a spinet piano, a very rare object in a Chinese household.’
    • ‘Soon afterwards, they bought me a small spinet organ and arranged for me to take lessons.’
    • ‘These baby baby grands and tiny spinets produce three octaves from hammers hitting metal rods.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: shortening of obsolete French espinette, from Italian spinetta virginal, spinet diminutive of spina thorn (see spine), the strings being plucked by quills.

Pronunciation:

spinet

/ˈspinit/