Viol meaning

vī'əl
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.
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Any of an early family of stringed instruments played with a curved bow, characterized generally by six strings, frets, a flat back, and C-shaped sound holes: used chiefly in the 16th and 17th cent. in sizes from the treble viol to the bass viol.
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A viola da gamba, a family of musical instruments that preceded the violin and viola and similar string instruments.
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Origin of viol

  • Alteration of Middle English viel from Old French viole, vielle from Old Provençal viola viola1
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition