A mandolin is a bit like a small guitar — it's a musical instrument with a wooden body, strings, and a long neck.
A musician plays a mandolin by plucking or strumming the strings. Its sound is higher than a guitar, and it's often played alongside lower-pitched instruments, such as banjos and guitars. The mandolin is popular around the world and in many different kinds of music; in the United States, it's played most often in country music. The word itself comes from the Italian mandolino, which is an altered form of the Latin pandura, or "three-stringed lute."