Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The largest bowed stringed instrument in the modern orchestra, also used frequently in jazz ensembles, especially played pizzicato. The double bass, usually considered a member of the violin family, is tuned in fourths and has the sloping shoulders and flat back characteristic of the viols. It has a deep range, going as low as three octaves below middle C. Also called bass fiddle, bass viol, bull fiddle, contrabass, string bass.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The largest stringed instrument of the violin family.
  • n. The deepest of all male voices.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A musical instrument, the largest and deepest of the viol family, having 3 or 4 strings, with a compass of over 3 octaves from the third E below middle C.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. largest and lowest member of the violin family
  • adj. pitched an octave below normal bass instrumental or vocal range

Etymologies

double, tuned an octave lower than (from the fact that a string or pipe that is twice the length of another gies a pitch an octave lower) + bass2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Among the members of the Polish band ” which consisted of a leader (Premier), four violins, one oboe, two French horns, three bassoons, and one double bass ” we meet with such well-known men as Johann Joachim Quanz and Franz Benda.

    Frederic Chopin as a Man and Musician

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