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A piano accordion


First attested in 1831. From German Akkordeon, from Akkord(harmony), from French accord, from Old French acorder, based on Italian accordare(to tune). See also accord.



accordion (plural accordions)

  1. A small, portable, keyed wind instrument, whose tones are generated by play of the wind from a squeezed bellows upon free metallic reeds.
    • 1869, Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad:
      A disreputable accordion that had a leak somewhere and breathed louder than it squawked.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary:
      Accordion: an instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
      An accordion underskirt of blue silk moirette.


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accordion (third-person singular simple present accordions, present participle accordioning, simple past and past participle accordioned)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To fold up, in the manner of an accordion
    • 2000 December 29, Charles Dickinson, “Qi”, in Chicago Reader[1]:
      Still in reverse, she goosed the gas and accordioned the running board a fraction of an inch more.
    • 2005, Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town[2]:
      It accordioned down and he tugged the shirt around it so that it came free [] .