\ \ [17] The Greek kithárā was a stringed musical instrument of the lyre family, which has bequeathed its name to a variety of successors.
\ \ Via Latin cithara came English citole [14], a medieval stringed instrument, and German zither (borrowed by English in the 19th century), while Arabic took it over as qītār and passed it on to Spanish as guitarra. French adopted it in the form guitare (which eventually superseded the earlier guiterne), and it eventually reached English. (The history of guiterne, incidentally, is not entirely clear, although it is obviously a member of the kithárā family. English acquired it as gittern [14], applied to an early form of guitar, and it seems to have been blended with Latin cithara to produce English cithern or cittern [16], the name of a plucked stringed instrument of Renaissance times.)

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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