The Word of the day comes again from "Act of Grace" by Anna Krien.
The oud is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument (a chordophone in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification of instruments) with 11 or 13 strings grouped in 5 or 6 courses. The oud is very similar to modern lutes, and also to Western lutes.
The modern oud is most likely derived from the Persian barbat. Similar instruments have been used in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia for thousands of years, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa, the Caucasus, and the Levant; there may even be prehistoric antecedents of the lute. The oud, as a fundamental difference with the western lute, has no frets and a smaller neck. It is the direct ancestor of the European lute. The oldest surviving oud is thought to be in Brussels, at the Museum of Musical Instruments.