"instrument for cutting the core out of an apple or other fruit," 1796, agent noun from core (v.).
"small harpsichord," 1520s, evidently from virgin, but the connection is unclear, unless it means "an instrument played by girls."
fusion of late Old English organe, and Old French orgene (12c.), both meaning "musical instrument," both from Latin organa, plural of organum "a musical instrument," from Greek organon "implement, tool for making or doing; musical instrument; organ of sense, organ of the body," literally "that with which one works," from PIE *werg-ano-, from root *werg- "to do."
Applied vaguely in late Old English to musical instruments; by late 14c. the sense of the word (used in both singular and plural form) narrowed to the large, complicated musical instrument now known by that name (involving pipes sounded by means of compressed air supplied by a bellows and worked by means of keys), though Augustine (c. 400) knew this as a specific sense of Latin organa.
The biological meaning "body part of a human or animal adapted to a certain function" is attested from late 14c., from a Medieval Latin sense of Latin organum. From early 15c. as "a tool, an instrument." The broad, etymological sense of "that which performs some function" is attested in English from 1540s. By 1788 as "a medium, an instrument of communication." Organ-grinder, "strolling musician who 'grinds' music on a barrel-organ" is attested by 1803.
M. GAETANO CAÏRO has invented an instrument, to which he has given the name of Tachymeter (rapid measurer). Its object is to give the area of plane surfaces bounded by any outline whatever, without the necessity of any arithmetical operation. [Magazine of Popular Science and Journal of the Useful Arts, vol. ii, 1836]
"guitar-like musical instrument with a circular body covered in front with stretched parchment, like a tambourine," 1764, in various spellings (Thomas Jefferson has banjar), American English, usually described as of African origin, probably akin to Bantu mbanza, name of an instrument resembling a banjo. The word has been influenced by colloquial pronunciation of bandore (1560s in English), a 16c. lute-like stringed instrument, from Portuguese bandurra, from Latin pandura (see mandolin). The origin and the influence might be the reverse of what is here described. Related: Banjoist. The banjo-clock (1891) was so called for its shape.
gourd rattle used as a Latin-American percussion instrument, 1813, from Portuguese, from a Brazilian native name. Related: Maracas.
c. 1300, "the inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering, pain, distress," from Old French torment "torture, pain, anguish, suffering distress" (11c., Modern French tourment), from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").
type of modern metal musical instrument played through a reeded mouthpiece (originally meant as a more sonorous substitute for the clarinet in military bands), 1851, from French saxophone, named for Antoine Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (1814-1894), Belgian instrument maker who devised it c. 1840, + musical-instrument ending ultimately from Greek phōnē "voiced, sounding" (see -phone).
His father, Charles Joseph (1791-1865) invented the less popular saxhorn (1844) in the trumpet family, also meant for military bands. The surname is a spelling variant of Sachs, Sacks, literally "Saxon." Related: Saxophonist.
stringed musical instrument, 1850, from German Zither, from Old High German zitara, from Latin cithara, from Greek kithara (see guitar).