Lute: latin testudo, stringed instrument, well-known and wide-spread in Spain, Italy and Africa, as well as in other countries. It differs from the Vihuela in that neither its body, nor its soundbox are flat, but round and curved, made up of many thin staves, ingeniously glued to one another. Some claim that its name was lautandis heroibus (heroes' bard) because romantic songs were accompanied by it, and it was suited to the recounting of kings' and princes' deeds. My personal opinion is that the name is derived from the corrupted Greek word halieut, without the initial ‘a', and pronouncing leud as laud. It was named after the shape of the fishing boat, which is short and concave, and that helps us in interpreting a motto of Alciato, addressed to Maximiliano, Duke of Milan, that says:
Hane citharam a Lembi, quae forma halieutica fertur Venticat et propriam musa latina sibi.
The term halieutica is derived from the Greek ‘ áëéåýò i.e. fisherman. The Italian term is liuto. Diego de Urrea claims that it is an Arabic word. Moreover, in reference to its characteristic shape, the name ‘lute' is also sometimes given to its hunch (in Spanish ‘corcova').
"Tesoro de la lengua Castellana", Sebastian Covarrubias Orosco (Madrid, 1611)