- an early musical woodwind instrument with a double reed: the forerunner of the modern oboe.
- music a medieval form of the oboe with a conical bore and flaring bell, blown through a double reed
n.“medieval oboe-like instrument,” mid-14c., schalmeis (plural), also schallemele (late 14c.), from Old French chalemie, chalemel, from Late Latin calamellus, literally “a small reed,” diminutive of Latin calamus “reed,” from Greek kalamos, from PIE *kole-mo- “grass, reed” (cf. Old English healm “straw,” Latin culmus “stalk”). Mistaken as a plural and trimmed of its “-s” ending from mid-15c. Related: Shawmist.