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carillon

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Pronunciation: kær-rê-lahn Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A set of tuned bells of varying sizes in a tower that may be played manually or mechanically. 2. A piece of music written for a carillon. 3. An electro-acoustic sound device that imitates a carillon.

Notes: Here is a word so often mispronounced as [kêrilyên] that some prestigious dictionaries list it as an alternative pronunciation. The correct pronunciation is above. The player of carillons is still referred to in the French, carillonneur. If you can't keep up with the two double consonants, you may use the more recent carilloner (1930s).

In Play: Ding-dongCarillons are most at home in churches and universities: "Aly Katz knew when she heard the campus carillon play its evening songs, Phil would be on his way to her apartment." Back in the 60s and 70s carillon towers were a prime location for mass murderers: "The sniper in the bell tower was aiming at his first victim when the carillon began to play, frightening him so much he fell from the tower."

Word History: Today's Good Word is from French carillon, perhaps a drastic reduction of Old French quarregnon, which was an alteration of Latin quaternio(n) "set of four", based on quarter "four times". Quarter is one of the words Latin created from PIE kwetwer- "four", source also of Sanskrit catvarah, Persian čatvar, Russian četyre, Irish ceathair, Welsh pedwar, Cornish peswar, Breton pevar, Lithuanian ketur , Latvian četri, and Hindi chaar—all meaning "four". (Today's hauntingly beautiful Good Word came from our old wordmaster Chris Stewart, retired now in South Africa, who has been with us since the beginning, 19 years ago.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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