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organ grinder

an itinerant street musician who earns a living by playing a hand organ or hurdy-gurdy.
Origin of organ grinder
First recorded in 1800-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for organ grinder
Historical Examples
  • "That's nine times we heard all about that," interrupted the pirate or organ grinder.

  • This happened to be an organ grinder, who made his appearance at the gate.

    A Sweet Little Maid Amy E. Blanchard
  • And all the while the organ grinder's little girl had the Candy Rabbit.

  • Norma stopped to give twenty-five cents to an old Italian organ grinder, and worked him into her theme as she went on.

    The Beloved Woman Kathleen Norris
  • The organ grinder plays for the children and they dance on the sidewalks, singing and calling out in delight.

  • Her words floated down to the organ grinder, and at once he allowed the monkey more length of cord.

  • Polly obeyed, though slowly, because of her tears; but when she recognized the organ grinder curiosity hastened her steps.

  • And Polly did, imitating the organ grinder's words and gestures, till her listeners were shaking with laughter.

  • Had the organ grinder who had lost his pet witnessed this scene he might have felt recompensed for his loss.

  • I got almost hysterical over our absurd appearance, and pretended that Miss Lessing was the organ grinder, and I the monkey.

    Lady of the Decoration Frances Little

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