a stringed instrument of the guitar family, pear-shaped with a flat back, popular from the 15th to the 18th cent.
Origin of citternfrom cither, probably influenced, influence by Middle English giterne: see gittern
A 16th-century guitar with a flat, pear-shaped body.
Origin of citternPerhaps blend of Latin cithara cithara ; see cithara . and obsolete English gittern ( from Middle English) ( from Old French guiterne ) ( from Latin cithara )