1. Set of tuned wooden bars struck by hard or medium-hard mallets, producing a bright staccato sound. From the Greek language: xylo = wood + phon = sound. A popular extra instrument in coin pianos and orchestrions, especially American nickelodeons of the Prohibition era. See marimba. 2. Careless description of orchestra bells (which are of metal and thus by logical definition of the word, cannot be a xylophone).