Wordnik word of the day: mirliton

by Grant Barrett on August 20, 2009

Today’s word of the day is mirliton, noun, a kind of musical toy into which one sings, hums, or speaks, producing a coarse, reedy sound. It resembles a kazoo. The word mirliton comes to English through Louisiana French, from standard French, in which it can refer to anything from a reed pipe, a party whistle such as those used at Carnival time, or any kind of rudimentary instrument. It shares its name with a type of edible gourd, which goes not only by the name mirliton, but also by chayote, christophene, sayote, choko, and others. The Christian Science Monitor has an article about one man’s attempt to bring the mirliton back to New Orleans.

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