Recorder is a musical instrument?

Hi, I’ve read in my dictionary that the word recorder can also refer to a musical instrument. How is it possible that this word has so many different meanings? I mean I know that a recorder is also a device for replaying audio CD’s. Thanks in advance,

Hello FrankU,

You should look up the word ‘set’, it’s supposed to be the English word that has the most definitions: 464! So that leaves the word ‘recorder’ in a rather modest place.

Yesterday I wrote something on how expensive learning to play an instrument can be. Now, talking of recorders (or flutes), this is the only instrument that is taught for free in Spanish primary schools (each child has to bring their own, of course).


Many, many words have many different meanings, Frank-- just look up right or lead or period or any word on a list of homographs.

Here’s what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about recorder:

“chief legal officer of a city,” 1415, from Anglo-Fr. recordour (c.1325), O.Fr. recordeor, from M.L. recordator, from L. recordari “remember” (see record (v.)). The musical instrument is attested by this name from 1430, from record (v.) in the obsolete sense of “practice a tune.” The name, and the thing, were rarely heard by mid-1800s, ousted by the flute, but enjoyed a revival after 1911 as an easy-to-play instrument for musical beginners.