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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.
  2. (graphical user interface) A vertical list of items that can be individually expanded and collapsed to reveal their contents.


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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 [] .