from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun A small, high-pitched, transverse flute used primarily to accompany drums in a military or marching band.
- intransitive verb To play a fife.
- intransitive verb To perform (a piece or tune) on or as if on a fife.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In organ-building, a piccolo stop.
- noun A musical instrument of the flute class, usually having a compass of about two octaves upward from the second D above the middle C; a piccolo, or a flute of still higher pitch: much used in military music, particularly with drums.
- To play the fife, or to execute on a fife: as, to
fifein a band; to fife a tune.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- intransitive verb To play on a fife.
- noun (Mus.) A small shrill pipe, resembling the piccolo flute, used chiefly to accompany the drum in military music.
- noun (Mil.) a noncommissioned officer who superintends the fifers of a regiment.
- noun (Naut.) A railing around the break of a poop deck.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun A small shrill
pipe, resembling the piccolo flute, used chiefly to accompany the drum in military music
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a small high-pitched flute similar to a piccolo; has a shrill tone and is used chiefly to accompany drums in a marching band
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
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The effective centre of my Own fife is the Province of Quebec and I would not have it otherwise.
The old cylindrical ear-piercing fife is an obsolete instrument, being superseded by a small army flute, still, however, called a fife, used with the side drum in the drum and fife band.
He had a great longing — strange enough in that peaceful sheep-raising neighborhood — to go into the army; but he and his elder brother were the mainstay of their crippled father, and he could not be spared from the large household until a younger brother could take his place; so that all his fire and military zeal went for the present into martial tunes, and the fife was the safety-valve for his enthusiasm.
He had a great longing -- strange enough in that peaceful, sheep-raising neighborhood -- to go into the army; but he and his elder brother were the mainstay of their crippled father, and he could not be spared from the large household until a younger brother could take his place; so that all his fire and military zeal went for the present into martial tunes, and the fife was a safety-valve for his enthusiasm.
At the foot of each mast there is a contrivance for securing ropes, called the fife-rail.
The lyre (Tamboura) and a kind of fife with a dismal sound, made of the hollow Dhourra stalk, are the only instruments I saw, except the kettle-drum.
But the next moment she heard the familiar sounds of a jig she knew well - "Half a Penny" - played on some kind of fife or pipe.
Ornaments and musical instruments employed in dances and religious ceremonies do not differ much among the Pueblo Indians; the principal ones being the drum, rattle, notched sticks, a kind of fife, and a turtle-shell rattle.
Illustrated Catalogue Of The Collections Obtained From The Indians Of New Mexico And Arizona In 1879 Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1880-81, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1883, pages 307-428
The day was spent in mirththe Lenni-Lenape nation and Jollity the soldiers paradingof the Delaware Valley marching with fife & Drum and Huzzaing as they passd the poles their hats adornd with white blossoms
The liberals 'overreach has awakened the sleeping giant known as The Silent Majority and they're suddenly amazed the American people aren't just dancing along merrily to the fife the Pied Piker (Obama) is playing.
chained_bear commented on the word fife
A small shrill-toned instrument of the flute kind, used chiefly to accompany the drum in military music. The fife is a transverse wind instrument with an embouchure hole and six fingerholes.
"And blasts with whistling fifes new rage inspire." (P. Fletcher, Locusts II, iv, 1627)
"And the vile squealing of the wry-necked fife..." (W. Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice")
And the drums are going a rap a tap tap
And the fifes they loudly play
Fare you well, Polly my dear
I must be going away.
--"The Gentleman Soldier," trad., arr. the Pogues, c. 1985
February 7, 2007