any of an early family of stringed instruments played with a curved bow, characterized generally by six strings, frets, a flat back, and -shaped sound holes: used chiefly in the 16th and 17th cent. in sizes from the treble viol to the bass viol
Origin of violMiddle French viole from Old Provençal viula from Frankish an unverified form vithula from Vulgar Latin vitula: see fiddle
- Any of a family of stringed instruments, chiefly of the 1500s and 1600s, having a fretted fingerboard, usually six strings, and a flat back and played with a curved bow.
- See viola da gamba.
Origin of violAlteration of Middle English viel from Old French viole, vielle from Old Provençal viola ; see viola 1.