• (RP) IPA: /ˈzɪ.ðə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈzɪ.ðɚ/

zither (plural zithers)

  1. (music) A musical instrument consisting of a flat sounding box with numerous strings placed on a horizontal surface, played with a plectrum or fingertips.
  2. (music, translations) Related or similar instruments in other cultures, such as the Chinese guqin or Norwegian harpeleik; especially any chordophone without a neck, and with strings that pass over the body.
Translations Verb

zither (zithers, present participle zithering; past and past participle zithered)

  1. To play a zither.
    • 1892, Edmund Gosse, The Secret of Narcisse, New York: United States Book Company, Chapter 3, pp. 100, 102,
      […] the fluting began again. Not alone this time, but, to Rosalie’s infinite surprise, accompanied on a zither. […] At this moment the fluting and zithering began again.
    • 1906, William John Locke, The Belovéd Vagabond, New York: John Lane, 1911, Chapter 9, pp. 120-121,
      We wandered and fiddled and zithered and tambourined through France till the chills and rains of autumn rendered our vagabondage less merry.
    • 1999, Richard Hacken (translator), “Mary in Misery” by Peter Rosegger in Into the Sunset: Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Austrian Prose, Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, pp. 413-414,
      We traveled far and wide: he played the zither while I sang an accompaniment. […] He keeps zithering, and I sing like before, and before long we’ve put together a pretty good pile of money . . .
  2. To make a sound similar to that made by a zither; to move while making such a sound.
    • circa 1890 May Ostlere, Dead! London: Trischler, Chapter 3, p. 76,
      Now [the wind] swithered through the badly-fixed windows, making zithering sounds as of an army of cold and frozen-out mosquitoes […]
    • 1956, Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals, Penguin, 2000, Part Two, Chapter 10, p. 123,
      The olives seemed weighed down under the weight of their fruit, smooth drops of green jade among which the choirs of cicadas zithered.
    • 1985, Kim Chapin, Dogwood Afternoons, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Chapter 19, p. 178,
      Once I owned a bike […] It had no fenders and one gear only, and on the forks, both fore and aft, I clipped some plastic playing cards to zither loudly through the spokes.
    • 1996, Carl Huberman, Eminent Domain, London: Macmillan, Chapter 38, p. 328,
      ‘Look at that!’ she shouted, already backing up the Jeep, its tyres zithering on the crusty surface.
    • 2004, Matt Braun, Black Gold, New York: St Martin’s Paperbacks, Chapter Fifteen, p. 158,
      The other men opened fire with pistols, slugs zithering past him with a dull whine.

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