Oph"i*cleide (?), n. [F. ophicl'eide, fr. Gr. a serpent + , gen. , a key. So named because it was in effect the serpent, an old musical instrument, with keys added.] Mus.
A large brass wind instrument, formerly used in the orchestra and in military bands, having a loud tone, deep pitch, and a compass of three octaves; -- now generally supplanted by bass and contrabass tubas.
Moore (Encyc. of Music).
© Webster 1913.