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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for organ-grinder
Historical Examples
  • But what if the organ-grinder should really prove to be dead?

  • The organ-grinder at the gate fenced his beast with one arm as Jimmy-talked.

    Actions and Reactions Rudyard Kipling
  • The organ-grinder, after his day's crime, plays his accursed machine for love.

    Actions and Reactions Rudyard Kipling
  • In the centre of it all stands the organ-grinder, swarthy and black-haired.

  • He, with as much ear for music as an organ-grinder's monkey!

    The Belovd Vagabond William J. Locke
  • What do you mean by telling him my father was an organ-grinder?

  • He can pound away all day, and sing the while, and no organ-grinder has power to drive him mad.

    Folly as It Flies Fanny Fern
  • I saw Ira talking to the organ-grinder yesterday in front of the bank.

    Detectives, Inc.

    William Heyliger
  • “The organ-grinder left for Peekskill on the 6:29,” Captain Tucker told him.

    Detectives, Inc.

    William Heyliger
  • Outside, before the door, an organ-grinder is playing a waltz tune.

    The Inferno August Strindberg
British Dictionary definitions for organ-grinder


a street musician playing a hand organ for money
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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