- clarinet (n.)
- 1768, from French clarinette (18c.), diminutive of clarine "little bell" (16c.), from fem. of adjective clarin, from clair, cler (see clear (adj.)). The instrument said to have been invented c.1700 by J.C. Denner of Nuremberg, Germany. Alternative form clarionet is attested from 1784.
After the hautboy came the clarinet. This instrument astonished every beholder, not so much, perhaps, on account of its sound, as its machinery. One that could manage the keys of a clarinet, forty five years ago, so as to play a tune, was one of the wonders of the age. Children of all ages would crowd around the performer, and wonder and admire when the keys were moved. [Nathaniel D. Gould, "Church Music in America," Boston, 1853]