Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small wooden slat attached to a string that makes a roaring noise when whirled.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ancient ritual musical instrument and means of communicating over extended distances, dating back to the Paleolithic period.

Etymologies

bull +‎ roarer (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The bullroarer is a long flat board with notches, or slits, at one end, and a rope at the other.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • "Voice of Oro," their god of vengeance, is produced by a bullroarer, which is actually worshipped as the god himself.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 "Bulgaria" to "Calgary"

  • If they'd tried to use a bullroarer it would have been in a 3' radius, which would certainly have resulted in listener casualties, what with bouncing it off of both pillars and listeners.

    Making Light: The new new TSA regulations

  • Â They decided to zip around the world using an abandoned Outback town as their headquarters and the bullroarer-spinning character find of 1988, Gateway, to teleport them where they needed to go!

    Which is your favorite X-Men Era? | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

  • Joseph Campbell told me a story (also recently recounted by Davidson Loehr) about the Australian tribe that used the bullroarer to keep people in awe of the gods.

    A Time for Heresy

  • Joseph Campbell told me a story also recently recounted by Davidson Loehr about the Australian tribe that used the bullroarer to keep people in awe of the gods.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • At the end of the ritual one of the masked men dipped the bullroarer in the boy's blood and thrust it in his face, simultaneously removing his mask so the boy could see it's not a god at all - it's just one of the old guys.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • I realized last night how much my use of whirling cables into the pitch field of my theremin resembles the use of the ancient Australian Aboriginal bullroarer musical instrument nice legend here.

    technoprimitive

  • His spell went screaming straight up, making a sound like the biggest bullroarer in the universe.

    The Silver Spike

  • The deep, haunting resonance of the bullroarer raised gooseflesh as much for its significance as for its sonorous timbre.

    The Clan of the Cave Bear

Comments

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  • I have one.

    Someone I demonstrate for guests, but only if they stand back.

    March 30, 2010

  • "The huge livingroom window was gone and a shutter stood propped open in its place opening up on a view of that grand old room full of pineboard shelves bowing with jars and jugs, the fireplace bristling with humbugs and bullroarers and toothbusters."
    Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, p 57 of the Graywolf Press hardcover edition

    March 30, 2010

  • Also spelled bull roarer. Seen here.

    Makes an awesome sound, heard here.

    And lastly, it's a song by Midnight Oil, heard here.

    March 17, 2009