xylophone, ukelele

I’ve been thinking about musical instruments. Thought it might be interesting to see the derivations of some of their names.

The word xylophone is based on 2 words – xylo and phone.

From dictionary.com

xylo- or xyl-

  1. Wood: xylograph.
  2. Xylene: xylidine.

[Greek xulo-, from xulon, wood.]

[Greek phōnē, sound, voice; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.]

This makes sense. An xylophone’s keys are made of wood.

When the Hawaiians saw the European sailors playing their ukeleles, it looked like they were brushing away fleas. Hence, the name of the instrument.

From dictionary.com,

1895–1900, Americanism; < Hawaiian ʿukulele leaping flea (ʿuku flea + lele to jump, leap)


About acohen843

I am a writer and ESL teacher who enjoys the challenge of starting businesses. Currently, I am a JuicePlus distributor (www.acohentakesjuiceplus.com) who is using this business opportunity as the foundation of a social entrepreneurship project.
This entry was posted in education, English, English as a Second Language, ESL, music, teaching, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to xylophone, ukelele

  1. nilam says:

    u name it ukulele too? i thought it’s an instrument from indonesia

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