uku·​le·​le | \ ˌyü-kə-ˈlā-lē How to pronounce ukulele (audio) , ˌü- \
variants: or less commonly ukelele

Definition of ukulele

: a small guitar of Portuguese origin popularized in Hawaii in the 1880s and strung typically with four strings

Illustration of ukulele

Illustration of ukulele

Examples of ukulele in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Merry Gentlemen bring the sounds of soca, calypso and reggae, blending steel drums and ukuleles with unique twists on holiday hits. Luann Gibbs,, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Dec. 16-22," 16 Dec. 2019 Especially for string players, where a basic acoustic guitar suddenly turns into an electric guitar, an electric bass, a ukulele, or a mandolin. Lee Neikirk, USA TODAY, "15 perfect gifts for musicians and music lovers," 18 Dec. 2019 Some come for medical check-ups, others to play ukulele, still others just to chat. The Economist, "Demography Will age weaken the Asian tiger economies?," 5 Dec. 2019 The ukulele, the small, four-stringed instrument traditionally associated with Hawaii, will be the star of two musical festivals in Honolulu this summer. Jay Jones,, "Ukulele heaven: Honolulu festivals to honor islands' most popular instrument," 25 June 2019 As those who know SpongeBob’s TV exploits would expect, there are several ukuleles involved. Christopher Arnott,, "A deep sea of pop-rock, superstar sounds in ‘SpongeBob Musical’ to flood the Bushnell," 25 Sep. 2019 Kondo had Yoon draw in some of her daughters’ favorite toys — a pink ukulele painted with flowers and a stuffed donkey. Washington Post, "Marie Kondo’s doing what she can to make your kids tidy," 8 Nov. 2019 Raffles include a Fender banjo, Fender electric guitar, Fender classical guitar, and Kala merchandise (including a ukulele). San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, June 20," 20 June 2019 In her latest series, main character Lucy McGee sings, plays the ukulele and writes her own music. Christina Barron, Washington Post, "Mary Amato weaves stories and songwriting together in Lucy McGee series," 27 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ukulele.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ukulele

1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ukulele

Hawaiian ʽukulele, from ʽuku flea + lele jumping

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Time Traveler for ukulele

Time Traveler

The first known use of ukulele was in 1896

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Statistics for ukulele

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ukulele.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for ukulele


How to pronounce ukulele (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ukulele

: a musical instrument that is like a small guitar with four strings


uku·​le·​le | \ ˌyü-kə-ˈlā-lē How to pronounce ukulele (audio) \

Kids Definition of ukulele

: a musical instrument like a small guitar with four strings

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More from Merriam-Webster on ukulele

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ukulele

Spanish Central: Translation of ukulele

Nglish: Translation of ukulele for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about ukulele

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