It seems that a certain type of flute (like the wooden one children are often given in school) is called "recorder". How did that happen?

closed as general reference by MetaEd, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, kiamlaluno, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 16 '13 at 21:20

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


As it's stated at etymonline.com:

recorder (n.) — "chief legal officer of a city," early 15c., from Anglo-French recordour (early 14c.), Old French recordeor, from Medieval Latin recordator, from Latin recordari "remember" (see record (v.)). The musical instrument is attested by this name from early 15c., 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.

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    This reference gives several theories. – Peter Shor Mar 15 '13 at 13:38
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    @PeterShor Why commenting me? Write your own answer. – lexeme Mar 15 '13 at 13:40
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    I'm pretty sure @Peter was only trying to be helpful to you, the O.P., and anyone else who might be interested enough in this topic to open the question. Instead of composing a "competing" answer, he was gracious enough to enhance this one. Your response surprises me. – J.R. Mar 15 '13 at 17:52
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    My reference actually concludes that your answer is the most likely etymology, so I don't see the point of writing another answer. – Peter Shor Mar 15 '13 at 18:43
  • @PeterShor excuse me for being that rude. – lexeme Apr 18 '17 at 16:59

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