"oboe, double-reeded woodwind instrument," 1570s, from French hautbois "high wood" (15c.; see oboe, which is the Italian phonetic spelling of the French word). The haut is used here in its secondary sense of "high-pitched." In early use frequently nativized as hoboy, hawboy, etc.
This Pageaunt waz clozd vp with a delectable harmony of Hautboiz, Shalmz, Coronets, and such oother looud muzik. [Robert Laneham, 1575]
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