We need a word for "violin lover"

November 12, 2017, 4:17 AM · Well I do at least, and we certainly exist as a particular breed of musician/enthusiast/collector. Looking for something akin to "bibliophile" and thinking to include other stringed instruments I discovered that the Latin for "string" or "wire" is "filum", so can I suggest FILOPHILE? Of course there may already be filophiles out there whose passion is collecting pieces of string.

Replies (55)

Edited: November 12, 2017, 12:30 PM · Viol-amorist?
November 12, 2017, 6:05 AM · viomore
Edited: November 12, 2017, 7:45 AM · If we want a word made up of Greek roots (generally preferable to mixed Latin/Greek) I would suggest "philolyrist", which means someone who is fond of the lyre and is derived from "philolyros", a word found in the works of Aeschylus. The lyre was a gut-strung instrument in antiquity and would have been a close equivalent in its usage to today's violin.

On second thoughts I'd rewrite "philolyrist" as "lyrophile", retaining the Greek roots but avoiding a possible confusion with "lyricist". It is also akin to "bibliophile".

Aeschylus was the greatest Greek writer of tragedy, and if you hear me play the violin you'll understand why I chose a word from that source ;)

November 12, 2017, 6:42 AM · Cordophile? Philocord? I guess the similarity between "cord" and "chord" must be etymological rather than coincidental?
Edited: November 12, 2017, 11:38 AM · violosaurus?
November 12, 2017, 7:57 AM · Restus shoulderus
November 12, 2017, 9:04 AM · Violinophile :D
November 12, 2017, 9:26 AM · amoredebratsche.
November 12, 2017, 9:52 AM · Dendrochordaphile?
Edited: November 12, 2017, 10:14 AM · Five syllables is outside my short-term memory span. I'm starting to like Aeschylus's "lyrophile", preferably not pronounced "leerophile" because that sounds a bit too topical. Could we all start using it a lot before I email the OED and Chambers'?
November 12, 2017, 10:17 AM · What's the problem with the already existing "violinist" word?
November 12, 2017, 10:52 AM · So who needs "bibliophile" when "reader" will do? Not all violinists are violin-lovers and not all violin-lovers are violinists.
Edited: November 12, 2017, 11:41 AM · resinotractus
November 12, 2017, 12:04 PM · Anything "-ophile" just sounds wrong.

I'll just stick with "lovers of violin" or "violin lovers".

November 12, 2017, 12:07 PM · "What's the problem with the already existing "violinist" word?"

Someone could be a violinist and hate violins. That's why another, more specific term is needed.
I guess.

November 12, 2017, 12:08 PM · Steve, just to confirm that "lyrophile" isn't in the OED or Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary (that's the 3 vol one). I haven't dared to look in the Urban Dictionary :)
Edited: November 12, 2017, 12:51 PM · Don't we need a term which is so obscure, that people won't "get it", or make fun of us right away?
Like "numismatics" for coin collecting? LOL

Geez, how far would you get in a pickup bar by just saying that you're a coin collector? ;-)

Edited: November 12, 2017, 1:02 PM · Until not much more than a year ago I'd have described myself as a keen violinist but not a "violin-lover". My perfectly decent violin was just the tool I used to try to make music. Then I thought there might be a wider world to explore. By chance I was made aware of a London dealer who sounded like my kind of guy - very academically minded (particularly interested in British violins) with a background in violin-making (trained at the Newark school) and dealing at the highest level (Christie's resident expert in New York) - he even plays the thing in string quartets for his own amusement. He seemed very happy to entertain me one-on-one in his somewhat chaotic showroom, for me to try any violin within and without my budget and discuss any aspect of violin lore for as long as (to me) seemed decent.

After 6 sessions totalling about 9 hours and several loaned instruments I bonded with one and bought it. More importantly, I was really turned on to the magical mystery of violinism. Armed with a little knowledge and not much cash I scrutinized all the upcoming violin auctions, arranged for "private" auditions and was even brave enough to bid on a few. The ones I bought may or may not have been great bargains, but they're mine and they feel like my grandchildren. I've become a rabid violin lover but I need a sexier name and "lyrophile" I think would do very well.

November 12, 2017, 1:01 PM · Nerd.
November 12, 2017, 1:04 PM · Not enough syllables
Edited: November 12, 2017, 3:17 PM · boutjunkies

edit: in second thought, no...

November 12, 2017, 3:49 PM ·

I agree with Jim anything with aphile or ophile is gross; that syllable is up there with Hitlers mustache.

Vijoleamore violin + love. or Unvijolesamore a violin's love

November 12, 2017, 4:47 PM · Honestly, I nominate Rocky's "violosaurus."
November 12, 2017, 6:32 PM · There's already a word for it: amateur. We tend to forget its etymology...
November 12, 2017, 8:41 PM · Well, if violinist is a word that only means that you play the violin but not love it necessarily, then whatever fancy word you say, biolover, I'll find it problematic because I'd say that someone may say he's a biolover, claiming the violin is the best thing in the universe, but it could be appearance only, a fake biolover, and then I'd say we would need another word to filter the fakes biolovers, so the new word could only be used to refer to those that have been internationally accredited by the supreme violinist court.

Really, if some people hate classical musicians because of their... I don't know how to call it, their mix of ego, stubbornness, snowflake syndrome and so on, then this post is just a proof of it.

Now I imagine a new trend in the classical world, the equivalent of hipsters, that when they meet somebody, these are always their words:
- Hi, I play the violin and I'm a violophite
+ Hi... What's that?
- It's when you love so much the violin that's the only thing you think about. I'm so special :D
+ Oh God, kill me

November 13, 2017, 1:45 AM · Phew!
November 13, 2017, 12:26 PM · Violoenamourist
November 13, 2017, 1:39 PM · That'll annoy the lyrophilophobes
November 13, 2017, 2:17 PM · "Raw Ecorganic Gluten-free Obvioloverous"

That's the expression you're looking for, you're welcome.

November 13, 2017, 4:42 PM ·
Edited: November 13, 2017, 7:48 PM · Are you implying that you are a violin lover because of its sound and/or because you like the look, build and feel of them? Certainly, this will help us customize and find the right word for you.

E.g. Some people like to fly planes but not as much building them and others love to build them but not to fly them.

Edited: November 14, 2017, 2:35 AM · Yes, yes and more yes. For me (and I'm definitely not alone) the fascination also lies in the antiquity and lore bound up in "violinism" ("lyrophilia"?). No other instrument has anything like the same rich back story and mystique. Zillions of books have been written about Stradivari and the great Cremonese makers, but even at my price point stories and myths abound. Charles "Lord" Harris who inherited a small fortune, built a stone manor house, went bankrupt and back to violin making in the space of a few years. George Craske who opened up Paganini's "Il Cannone" and ruined its sound. Lockey Hill who was hung as a horse thief. Every time I pick up an old violin I wonder where it's been, who played it, what music it played and how it got that nasty scratch. To buy even an anonymous one as a hulk with 2 ancient gut strings and no bridge and then get it playing again is like reviving a living thing. Bibliophiles do more than just read books, oenophiles do more than just drink wine, audiophiles do more than just listen to music. Most of the other -ophiles I won't go into.
November 14, 2017, 3:04 AM · Sounds more a "Mania" than a "Philia".
The original medieval latin word for all the instruments was "vitula".


November 14, 2017, 4:51 AM · With such passion, sometimes one word isn't enough. You are a violin junkie, a violin enthusiast, a violin >connoisseur<.
November 14, 2017, 5:41 AM · How Il Cannone got ruined exactly?
Edited: November 14, 2017, 7:11 AM · A few months ago I met with a guy from the Amati auction house to consign a couple of crappy old instruments (sorry "living things") to their sale. He was en route to a house whose attic contained about 800 violins. Now that's vitulamania - nice one Carlos!

Kan - I'm looking to say it with a single word without implying too much expertise. I wonder if extramusical associations are the reason why some people aren't happy with "-ophile"?

Tim - I hope you're feeling better now? The story about Craske and Il Cannone is that Paganini had some problem with it while on tour in England and took it to Craske for therapy. Craske saw an opportunity to find out where the magic came from and removed the front. According to Paganini it was never the same again. Most of Craske's subsequent violins followed del Gesu's model but don't sound quite so well.

Edited: November 14, 2017, 11:20 AM · Was the lyre bowed? I don't think so.
The Greek for violin is ßioli, so we could say "Bioliophile" or "Biolophile"?
OK, I'll come clean: "ßioli" is not in my Liddell and Scott, so it's almost certainly modern Greek and their ß sounds more like a "v" to our ears than a "b", so "almost" certainly ßioli is not really a Greek word. So this is definitely a pseudointellectual name.
November 14, 2017, 6:52 PM · "phile-linist"
November 15, 2017, 4:04 AM · Practice anyone?
November 15, 2017, 5:37 AM · Practice is for lyropractors
November 15, 2017, 7:25 AM · Violinerd
November 15, 2017, 7:53 AM · chin holdin', peg turnin', string twerkin', bridge bracin', bow haulin', tone buildin', straight backed, loose limbered, grace fingered, music makers... ok, maybe that's a little long...
November 15, 2017, 8:24 AM · Stringed notebaker!
November 15, 2017, 12:30 PM · I'm thinking vitulamaniac is awesome.
November 15, 2017, 7:36 PM · "Restus shoulderus"

Yes. So much yes.

November 15, 2017, 7:42 PM · Viobsessionist.



Let's try to get violin obsessive compulsive disorder added into the DSM VI.

November 15, 2017, 7:51 PM · I second Paul’s Restus Sholderus

November 15, 2017, 7:54 PM · I concur. Paul's takes the cake.
November 16, 2017, 1:12 AM · This is what happens when you try to introduce a little democracy to the classroom. Back to your desks children!
Edited: November 21, 2017, 12:38 PM · "violinner" - as in, "Ich bin ein violinner."

- violinguist
- violender
- violobsessor
- violfocuser
- admiraviol
- violicker
- violinaddict
- violaphobic


November 22, 2017, 6:17 PM · Fiddlephile
November 23, 2017, 7:31 AM · violinici
November 23, 2017, 7:45 AM · I still like "lyraphile" for its academically pretentious Greek derivation. And the lyra was actually a primitive bowed instrument in medieval Europe. So thanks everyone for the suggestions, satirical or not
Edited: November 24, 2017, 9:23 AM · A term for violin lover?
Viola hater.

- So, how many hours do you practice violin?
Oh, like 10h or so. Daily.
- Wow, you must really hate the viola.

November 25, 2017, 5:41 AM · Latin and Greek have long been staple sources in the English-speaking world for devising new words to define or describe new concepts in science, medicine, technology or just for everyday use (e.g. "cinema", "data", "telephone"). It is in fact extraordinarily difficult to write any extended prose in English without using words derived from Latin and Greek - you'd end up with something remarkably similar to pre-Norman Conquest Anglo Saxon, a foreign language for most English speakers today (except for a few expletives!).

Now, how many words of Latin/Greek origin have I used quite naturally in this post?

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