"The cello is like a beautiful woman who has not grown older, but younger with time, more slender, more supple, more graceful."
I will probably be able to give a little more info, as this is my primary instrument.
The name "cello" comes from the Italian word "violoncello", which means, "little violone". The viol family where the cello got it's name was later turned into the violin family, where the instrument names came from Medivial Latin. By the turn of the twentieth century (1900-2000), it had become customary to call a violoncello " 'cello", the apostrophe indicating the missing six letters. Nowadays, we just use the word "cello" without the apostrophe.
Like the violin, a cello's strings are tuned in perfect fifths. The lowest string is two octaves below middle C, then G, D, and A. Unlike the violin, the cello is played sitting down, with the instrument between your legs. The cello also uses a horse-hair bow and pizzicato in the same fashion. For the cello, your hand forms a "C" shape around the neck. You use all four fingers on the string and your thumb is underneath the neck, supporting the hand. The notes, starting at the bottom and in the most basic position, are open C, fingers D,E,F; open G, fingers A, B, C; open D, fingers E, F, G; and open A, fingers B, C, D. These notes are played in 1st position, the postions continuing upwards on the cello.
This post does not go into extensive detail about the cello. For more information, go to www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cello
Picture taken from http://learngen.org/cohorts/music/791/KCKPS/alonzo/vcdiag.jpg
Quote taken from www.geocities.com/frank_cello/celloquotes.htm