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 ProvenÃ§al 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 viola1.