- a musical wind instrument consisting of a conical, usually brass tube with keys or valves and a mouthpiece with one reed.
- a keyed wind instrument of mellow tone colour, used mainly in jazz and dance music. It is made in various sizes, has a conical bore, and a single reedOften shortened to: sax
n.1851, from French saxophone, named for Antoine Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (1814-1894), Belgian instrument maker who devised it c.1840, + Greek -phonos “voiced, sounding.” His father, Charles Joseph (1791-1865) invented the less popular saxhorn (1845). The surname is a spelling variant of Sachs, Sacks, literally “Saxon.” Related: Saxophonist. A wind instrument classified as a woodwind because it is played with a reed, although it is usually made of metal. Saxophones appear mainly in jazz, dance, and military bands. They are made in several ranges, from soprano to bass.