jew's harp

(redirected from Jew's trump)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to Jew's trump: Jews harp

Jew's harp

or jew's harp (jo͞oz)
n.
A small musical instrument consisting of a lyre-shaped metal frame that is held between the teeth and a projecting steel tongue that is plucked to produce a soft twanging sound.

[Origin unknown.]

Jew's′

(or Jews'′) harp`,


n.
(sometimes l.c.) a small, simple musical instrument consisting of a lyre-shaped metal frame containing a metal tongue, which is plucked while the frame is held in the teeth, the vibrations causing twanging tones.
[1585–95]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Jew's harp - a small lyre-shaped musical instrument that is placed between the teeth and played by twanging a wire tongue while changing the shape of the mouth cavityjew's harp - a small lyre-shaped musical instrument that is placed between the teeth and played by twanging a wire tongue while changing the shape of the mouth cavity
musical instrument, instrument - any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sounds
References in periodicals archive ?
Amongst all the thousands of trial documents recorded in England and Scotland between 1590 and 1825, twenty-four trials have the distinction of mentioning the musical instrument known as the Jew's harp or Jew's trump (often simply 'trump', especially in modern Scottish usage) (Figure 1).
From these two documents come the three names by which the instrument was known at the time--Trump, Jew's trump, and Jew's harp--allowing us to state with some confidence that other literary references refer to the same instrument.
The files of the Dictionary of Traded Goods, 1550--1800, in preparation at the University of Wolverhampton, provide a rare insight into the trade in the instrument in England, with references to Jew's harps or Jew's trumps spanning the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries.