breath harp n chiefly Sth, S Midl Cf harp n 1, 2
1 A harmonica.
1904 S. Workman 33.160, Perhaps the father plays upon a breath-harp while the children dance before him on the clean-swept clay. [DARE Ed: English writer, who had lived in var places in the US, writing about “the Mexican Peon”] 1914 World–News (Roanoke VA) 22 Dec 6/5, Please send me a . . breath harp, cow boy suit, rubber ball and a little lamp. 1936 Bluefield Daily Telegraph (WV) 15 Apr 10/2, Miss Moses’ harp is not a breath harp as some might believe, but is almost as large as a barn door. 1946 PADS 6.7 swVA (as of 1900–10), Breath harp. . . A harmonica, a mouth harp. 1968 DARE (Qu. FF7, A small musical instrument that you blow on, and move from side to side in your mouth) Infs NC49, VA13, 18, Breath harp. 1971 Wood Vocab. Change 39 Sth, Breath harp is barely present in Tennessee and Oklahoma. 2006 (2007) NC Univ.–Chapel Hill Oral Histories Amer. South (Internet) cNC (as of 1930s–40s), Oh, he played a harmonica. . . He had his little—he called it a breath harp. He’d pull it out of his pocket or in a drawer wherever he kept it. 2016 in 2017 DARE File—Internet swVA, Larry first learned to play guitar at the age of 15 and eventually taught himself to play the banjo and breath harp.
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