• synonyms

barrel organ

  1. a musical instrument in which air from a bellows is admitted to a set of pipes by means of pins inserted into a revolving barrel; hand organ.
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Origin of barrel organ

First recorded in 1765–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for barrel organ

Historical Examples of barrel organ

  • The thought now haunted the youth that he could make a barrel-organ, and he determined to do so.


    Samuel Smiles

  • He loves music, and some day I shall buy him a barrel-organ to play to him always.'

  • Other evidences of the origin of the barrel-organ are not wanting.

  • Not that he was partial to any other music but a barrel-organ; on the contrary, hated it.

    A House to Let

    Charles Dickens

  • Old Treffy loved his barrel-organ; it was the one comfort of his life.

    Christie's Old Organ

    Mrs. O. F. Walton

British Dictionary definitions for barrel organ

barrel organ

  1. an instrument consisting of a cylinder turned by a handle and having pins on it that interrupt the air flow to certain pipes, thereby playing any of a number of tunesSee also hurdy-gurdy
  2. a similar instrument in which the projections on a rotating barrel pluck a set of strings
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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