from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A portable barrel-organ, both the barrel and the bellows of which are worked by a hand-crank.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • They could not make these out at first, but as they became louder our friends thought they heard a sort of music like that made by a wheezy hand-organ; the music fell upon their ears in this way:

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  • Born approximately 1325 and blind from boyhood, it was in music that he sought comfort and bliss; he played numerous instruments, foremost the ‘organetto’, the small portable hand-organ which at that time was particularly popular for performing secular music.

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  • He went reluctantly behind the curtain and soon reappeared carrying in his arms a small hand-organ, which he put down on the table with an air of deep dejection.

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  • Very often he had heard by chance a piano, an unknown voice, even a hand-organ in the street playing some old air, which had suddenly made him feel twenty years younger, filling his breast with tender recollections, long buried.

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  • “Trovatore” and other old operas which the hand-organ and the music-box have made entirely familiar to my ear.

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  • He pulled open the door, and there in front of him he saw a ragged little boy carrying a hand-organ on his back.


  • They started off together along the street, and on the way Heidi asked her companion what he was carrying on his back; it was a hand-organ, he told her, which played beautiful music when he turned the handle.


  • Then suddenly at one of the street corners she saw a boy standing, carrying a hand-organ on his back and a funny-looking animal on his arm.


  • In New Orleans, I was astounded at the strange phenomenon of a colored hand-organ grinder.

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  • At the far end of the scriptorium range in the cloister, under the south wall of the church, Brother Anselm the precentor was trying out a chant on his small hand-organ, a sequence of a half-dozen notes repeated over and over, like an inspired bird-call, sweet and sad.

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