Definition of ukulele
: a small guitar of Portuguese origin popularized in Hawaii in the 1880s and strung typically with four strings
Recent Examples of ukulele from the Web
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities The Broadway club location of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland has a recording studio and is seeking musicians willing to work with kids on guitar, keyboards, drums, ukulele, and vocals.
Wallfisch, who lives in Brooklyn now, plays ukulele, guitar and piano.
The ukulele has replaced the recorder in many public school music education programs, too.
America's Got Talent breakout star and ukulele master Grace VanderWaal debuts a summery, upbeat new single.
Music teachers showed children how to properly hold and play a variety of instruments, including a child-sized violin, cello, guitar, ukulele and tambourine and well as a full-size flute, keyboard, trumpet and trombone.
By this time, of course, Snooks had graduated from the ukulele to the guitar.
The exact moment The Book of Henry lost me was when Naomi Watts reached for the ukulele.
Organizers of the Make Music Liberty event are encouraging anyone to grab their ukulele, drum, harmonica or simply interest in live music and head to town for the day-long celebration of music and the start of of the warmest season.
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.
Origin and Etymology of ukulele
Hawaiian ʽukulele, from ʽuku flea + lele jumping
First Known Use: 1896See Words from the same year
UKULELE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ukulele for English Language Learners
: a musical instrument that is like a small guitar with four strings
UKULELE Defined for Kids
Definition of ukulele for Students
: a musical instrument like a small guitar with four strings
History for ukulele
In the Hawaiian language ʽukulele means literally “jumping flea,” a creature with little resemblance to a small guitar. It is likely that this peculiar name became attached to the instrument in a roundabout way. Edward Purvis, a former British army officer living at the court of the Hawaiian king, is said to have been given the nickname ʽukulele because he was a small, lively man. In 1879 Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii brought with them a small four-stringed guitar called a machete. Purvis was taken with the instrument and soon learned to play it. When the machete became a Hawaiian favorite, it took on Purvis's nickname, ʽukulele, and its Portuguese name was soon forgotten.
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