A lute is an old-fashioned stringed instrument that looks like a small, pear-shaped guitar. The lute appears in many of Shakespeare's plays. You might also see a lute player at a Renaissance Faire.
The wooden body of a lute is very round, while the front is flat with strings extending up the long neck to frets, like a ukulele or a guitar. Lute players are called luthiers, and they play mainly by plucking the strings, rather than strumming them. The word lute comes from the Old Provençal laut, from the Arabic root al-'ud, "the wood."