skif·​fle ˈski-fəl How to pronounce skiffle (audio)
: American jazz or folk music played entirely or in part on nonstandard instruments (such as jugs, washboards, or Jew's harps)
also : a derivative form of music formerly popular in Great Britain featuring vocals with a simple instrumental accompaniment

Examples of skiffle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The folk-jazz leanings of skiffle enhance cover songs from the likes of Hank Williams, Lead Belly, and Lonnie Donegan, probing all directions from old-timey to rockabilly. Globe Staff,, 5 May 2023 The first group that Ms. Waterson formed with her siblings and Mr. Harrison played skiffle music, a blend of American folk music, blues and jazz that became hugely popular in Britain in the 1950s. Jim Farber, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2022 Everly Brothers covers and rootsy acoustic tunes that swept Britain during the late '50s skiffle craze. Jordan Runtagh,, 14 Oct. 2021 On July 6, 1957, McCartney, now fifteen, rode his bike to a nearby fair to hear a local skiffle group called the Quarry Men. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Valentine took up the guitar at 13 in his hometown of North Shields in northeast England, subsequently getting involved in the skiffle craze — a kind of fusion of American folk, country, jazz and blues — that was sweeping the U.K. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, 31 Jan. 2021 In recent years, Valentine has been living in the U.S. state of Connecticut, returning to skiffle music with the formation of his band Skiffledog. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, 31 Jan. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skiffle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skiffle was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near skiffle

Cite this Entry

“Skiffle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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