Friday, 11 September 2009

Word of the week: Hum Trum

A musical instrument made of a mopstick, a bladder, and some packthread, thence also called a bladder and string, and hurdy gurdy; it is played on like a violin, which is sometimes ludicrously called a humstrum; sometimes, instead of a bladder, a tin canister is used.

From: Captain Grose's 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

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2 comments:

W. A. Mozart said...

It must be ghastly!

Annette said...

Worse than a catcall I'd say (i.e., "A whistle, chiefly used at theatres, to interrupt the actors, and damn a new piece. It derives its name from one of its sounds, which greatly resembles the modulation of an intriguing boar cat").