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Definition Greek mythology:  the Muse of epic poetry

More rarely, as a common noun, calliope references a steam organ — a type of musical instrument popular at circuses.
  • Calliope is now best known as Homer's muse.
  • It was huffing and rattling and hissing off plumes of steam in a hundred directions, like a monster calliope.
    Stephen King  --  The Shining
  • When the kid found out we were going to leave him at home he started up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a leech to Bill's leg.
    O. Henry  --  The Ransom of Red Chief
  • On her end, I could hear cartoons playing—rubbery voices and calliope music—then suddenly not.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • Not long after, someone starts up the calliope and the parade begins.
    Sara Gruen  --  Water for Elephants
  • A calliope began to play oh so softly, grieving to itself, a million miles away.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Calliope is quite touchy when novelists forget to thank her.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Hidden Oracle
  • The carnival once each summer; the oop-oop of the calliope and the smell of buttered popcorn.
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • Just for him the ponderous elephants, the plumes, the spangles, the acrobats, the clowns, the caged lion, the band playing, the steam calliope, the whole thing!
    Eudora Welty  --  One Writer's Beginnings
  • The sound of the calliope coming through the window kept her awake and she remembered that she hadn't said her prayers and got up and knelt down and began them.
    Flannery O'Connor  --  A Good Man is Hard to Find AND OTHER STORIES
  • Ann, Felicity, and LeFarge are distracted by the sight of a Mr. Pinkney—the Human Calliope—as he mimics the sound of the instrument with his mouth while also banging a drum.
    Libba Bray  --  Sweet Far Thing
  • Calliope, begin!
    Virgil  --  The Aeneid
  • But there wasn't any big side-wheeler there now, white as a wedding cake, cranky and improbable, with red and gilt decorations, and no calliope was playing "Dixie" and no whistles blowing.
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King's Men
  • A calliope.
    Nora Roberts  --  Summer Pleasures
  • They were Clio the muse of history, Euterpe of music, especially the flute, Thalia of comedy, Melpomene of tragedy, Terpsichore of dancing, Erato of erotic poetry, mistress of the lyre, Polyhymnia of sacred poetry, Urania of astronomy, Calliope of eloquence and epic poetry.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • To Delilah that house they were carrying the torches to was like one just now coming into being-like the showboat that slowly came through the trees just once in her time, at the peak of high water-bursting with the unknown, sparking in ruddy light, with a minute to go before that ear-aching cry of the calliope.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • Not a merry-goround that travels fast, and with a calliope for music, and the children ride on cows with gilded horns, and there are rings to catch with sticks, and there is the blue, gas-flare-lit early dark of the Avenue du Maine, with fried fish sold from the next stall, and a wheel of fortune turning with the leather flaps slapping against the posts of the numbered compartments, and the packages of lump sugar piled in pyramids for prizes.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • The calliope simmered, moronic with wind.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Perhaps the calliope gave a last ringmaster's bark.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • The calliope played sweet.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Something Wicked This Way Comes

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