Definition of hurdy-gurdy in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈhərdēˌɡərdē/

noun (plural hurdy-gurdies)

1A musical instrument with a droning sound played by turning a handle, which is typically attached to a rosined wheel sounding a series of drone strings, with keys worked by the left hand.
Example sentences
  • Leopold Mozart, when he wasn't raising his son Wolfgang Amadeus, wrote several concert works for unusual instruments, including the bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy.
  • Traditional folk instruments include the bandura, a variety of flutes, various fiddles and basses, drums and rattles, the bagpipe, the hurdy-gurdy, the Jew's harp, and the hammered dulcimer.
  • A dance that probably originated in the Auvergne, where it was accompanied by such folk instruments as the musette or the hurdy-gurdy.
1.1 informal A barrel organ.


Mid 18th century: probably imitative of the sound of the instrument.

Words that rhyme with hurdy-gurdy

birdie, curdy, nerdy, sturdy, vinho verde, wordy
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.