Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A kind of toy flute. See kazoo.
  • noun The chayote, Chayota edulis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A kind of musical toy into which one sings, hums, or speaks, producing a coarse, reedy sound. It is also called a kazoo.
  • noun same as chayote{2}.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A pear-shaped vegetable or its vine; the chayote.
  • noun music The eunuch flute, a kind of membranophone.
  • noun An 18th-century hussar hat resembling a slightly conical shako or tall fez.

Etymologies

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

[Louisiana French, (perhaps from the kazoolike shape of chayote fruit) from French mirliton, coin, reed pipe with a vibrating membrane, kazoo, perhaps from a song refrain (such as mireli, mirela, refrain of the popular 16th-century song “Dessus le marché d'Arras” describing a man offering money to a young woman for her favors).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French. Coined as a nonce to advertise a new women's bonnet, mirliton came to be applied to any trifle or trinket before acquiring several specific meanings. Compare the English word folderol.

Examples

  • The word mirliton comes from a French word for a kazoo-type flute, although the squash itself is often called a "christophene" in France.

    Week in Words

  • Â The kazoos closest instrument is an African horn-mirliton.

    Have A Wonderful National Kazoo Day! | myFiveBest

  • Winning at Squash mirliton That last item can be replaced by a serrano; the mirliton squash also known as a chayote can be swapped for bitter melon varietals.

    Week in Words

  • That last item can be replaced by a serrano; the mirliton squash also known as a chayote can be swapped for bitter melon varietals.

    The Tailgaters' Favorite Gone Frou-Frou

  • A member of the cucumber family, many Americans know mirliton as chayote squash or mango squash, since it originated in Mexico; in the Louisiana Bayou, Cajuns often use its French name, christophene.

    One Big Table

  • Toward the end of March he plants the seedlings along with row upon row of okra, cucumbers, snap beans, purple hull peas, field peas, corn, and mirliton.

    One Big Table

  • Some pronounce mirliton as spelled, while others say “mella-ton.”

    One Big Table

  • I plan to use my SYW Black Hussars in the Napoleonic game since some of the Prussian hussars still wore the mirliton in 1806 although the Black Hussars were switching over to the shako.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • I plan to use my SYW Black Hussars in the Napoleonic game since some of the Prussian hussars still wore the mirliton in 1806 although the Black Hussars were switching over to the shako.

    1806 Prussian Update

  • They were followed by the elite regiment of the von Reusch or Black Hussars HR5, decked out in their fearsome all black uniforms and mirliton hats bearing the dreaded death's head on the front of the cap.

    Archive 2008-01-01

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