zy·​de·​co ˈzī-də-ˌkō How to pronounce zydeco (audio)
often attributive
: popular music of southern Louisiana that combines tunes of French origin with elements of Caribbean music and the blues and that features guitar, washboard, and accordion

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The History of Zydeco

You might say that the lively form of music known as zydeco is full of beans, etymologically speaking. Legend has it that the word zydeco originated in the lyrics of Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés, a popular Cajun dance tune. Loosely translated, the song's title means "the beans are not salty," and when spoken in French Creole, les haricots (French for beans) sounds something like "zydeco." "Zydeco" first appeared in print in 1960 and has been used to describe this kind of music ever since.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The artists know the state well, having toured all over it, and the music on this EP captures many of the sounds that influence such a vast and diverse place: there’s twang, there’s R&B, there’s Tejano, there’s zydeco, and a whole lot more. The Editors, Outside Online, 3 Mar. 2020 Good luck trying to distinguish their Mexican roots from the American ones amid an incredible fusion of rock, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues and traditional music like cumbia, boleros and norteños. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, 1 Mar. 2020 Among those participating are Dom Flemons, whose 2018 album Black Cowboys was nominated for a Grammy award, and Geno Delafose, a Louisiana rancher and zydeco musician. National Geographic, 28 Jan. 2020 Parisian French seemed at once at home and out of place in Cajun country, like the voice of Édith Piaf emanating from a zydeco club. Richard Fausset, New York Times, 21 Aug. 2019 During their sons’ younger years, the Franks used to travel across states to listen to zydeco bands. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, 20 Aug. 2019 Other fellow recipients from this region include Texas City native and blues pianist Charles Brown and zydeco king Clifton Chenier, a Louisiana native who spent time in Port Arthur before settling in Houston's Frenchtown. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, 20 June 2018 Vasona Vibrations The concert series, which sees Santa Clara County Parks and South Bay Folks team up to host free, family-friendly concerts in support of Second Harvest Food Bank, continues with zydeco artist Andre Thierry. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, 16 June 2019 Messina's other specialty food items were its signature antipasto display, duck and andouille gumbo, canefield salad, a pork loin carving station, crawfish zydeco pasta and white chocolate bread pudding. Elizabeth Moore, NOLA.com, 15 Apr. 2018 See More

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

Word History


perhaps modification of French les haricots beans, from the Cajun dance tune Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés

First Known Use

1955, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of zydeco was in 1955


Dictionary Entries Near zydeco

Cite this Entry

“Zydeco.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zydeco. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



zy·​de·​co ˈzīd-ə-ˌkō How to pronounce zydeco (audio)
: popular music of southern Louisiana that combines tunes of French origin with elements of Caribbean music and blues
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