• WordNet 3.6
    • n hurdy-gurdy a musical instrument that makes music by rotation of a cylinder studded with pegs
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Hurdy-gurdy A stringled instrument, lutelike in shape, in which the sound is produced by the friction of a wheel turned by a crank at the end, instead of by a bow, two of the strings being tuned as drones, while two or more, tuned in unison, are modulated by keys.
    • Hurdy-gurdy In California, a water wheel with radial buckets, driven by the impact of a jet.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hurdy-gurdy A musical instrument shaped somewhat like a lute, having four or more strings, two of which are tuned a fifth apart for the production of a drone-bass, and the other two in unison, but so arranged that they can be shortened by pressing finger-keys connected with an apparatus of tangents not unlike that of the clavichord. Additional strings, when present, are intended to reinforce the tone by sympathetic vibration. The strings are sounded by the revolution against them of a rosined wheel turned by a crank for the left hand. The keys are played by the right hand. The hurdy-gurdy is a rustic instrument, its tone being harsh and its artistic manipulation exceedingly limited. It is known to have existed in the ninth century, and was fashionable for a time in the eighteenth century, but is now played only by street musicians. A large variety called the organistrum was intended for two performers, one of whom simply turned the wheel. Other names are lira rustica, vielle, rota, and bauernleier.
    • n hurdy-gurdy In California, a wheel moved by a jet of water issuing under pressure from a conical nozle, and striking open buckets on the circumference of the wheel; an impact-wheel. The buckets were originally flat, but their shape has been modified in various ways, and materially improved.
    • n hurdy-gurdy A crank or windlass used by halibut-fishermen for hauling trawls in deep water where the strain is very heavy. It is rigged on one side of a dory; one man turns the crank while another stands aft and takes in the trawl.
    • n hurdy-gurdy In a five-stringed instrument the lowest open string is called the bourdon, that next above the mouche, and the highest the trompette, and the melody strings are called chanterelles.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hurdy-gurdy hur′di-gur′di a musical stringed instrument, like a rude violin, whose strings are sounded by the turning of a wheel: a hand-organ: an impact-wheel.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Prob. of imitative origin
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary


In literature:

Then I kind of sauntered out to the back room where the hurdy-gurdy ought to be.
"Arizona Nights" by Stewart Edward White
A hurdy-gurdy began to play, abruptly drowning the noise of a quarrel between some Frenchmen further up the street.
"Seven Men" by Max Beerbohm
Then above the roar of the train sounded the high notes of a hurdy-gurdy.
"The Call of the Canyon" by Zane Grey
From the hurdy-gurdy of my childhood, down to Kubelik and his successors, I have been more or less music-mad.
"The Drums Of Jeopardy" by Harold MacGrath
You came to think it the dance music of Hell, ground from a cracked hurdy-gurdy, lent out by the Devil on hire.
"The Second Thoughts of An Idle Fellow" by Jerome K. Jerome
Once, just outside our door, I saw him standing in a crowd, watching a performing poodle attached to a hurdy-gurdy.
"Novel Notes" by Jerome K. Jerome
The dancing was to the sound of a hurdy-gurdy and violin, the same couples almost always together.
"An Iceland Fisherman" by Pierre Loti
The hurdy-gurdy tune and the unsung words had acted like a spell.
"Jonah" by Louis Stone
And I love the hurdy-gurdies and the awnings and the elevated trains and the street markets!
"Martie the Unconquered" by Kathleen Norris
The boy evinced his gratitude by a new turn of the hurdy-gurdy.
"The Caxtons, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Whine creaked the hurdy-gurdy, and bow-wow all of a sudden barked the dog.
"What Will He Do With It, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
He's got a hurdy-gurdy.
"Heart and Science" by Wilkie Collins
I say, you rascal with the hurdy-gurdy, More than enough of that vile shindy; drop it!
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 99., August 2, 1890." by Various
No one was living at Hurdy-Gurdy.
"The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. II: In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians" by Ambrose Bierce
Here around a hurdy gurdy gravely danced some little girls.
"His Family" by Ernest Poole
Susan is lean, cadaverous and intellectual, with the proportions of a file and the voice of a hurdy-gurdy.
"The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 1 of 2)" by Ida Husted Harper
It was called 'The Saints' Rest Hurdy-Gurdy,' and the proceedings each night began with prayer.
"The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 8" by Ambrose Bierce
Sounds like Hurdy-gurdys, doosn't it?
"Queen Hildegarde" by Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards
This ain't a hurdy-gurdy, and if you expec's music you'll have to toss us a copper.
"The Astonishing History of Troy Town" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
There was not even an organ boy or a hurdy-gurdy.
"Rome in 1860" by Edward Dicey

In poetry:

Here's to you, brave Hurdy-gurdy,
Grinding out your happy tune
While the traffic round you rumbles,
In the city's Summer noon.
"To A Hurdy-Gurdy" by Charles Hanson Towne
Good for you, poor Hurdy-gurdy!
Play, unheard, your little part;
Would that I could sing as you do,
With but half as brave a heart!
"To A Hurdy-Gurdy" by Charles Hanson Towne

In news:

Hurdy Gurdy Psychedelia – Today's Vinyl Vault.
An old Donovan favorite gets the nod today, Hurdy Gurdy Man from later in his career, around 1968.
What's a " Hurdy-Gurdy ".
When his wife brought home a hurdy-gurdy , he became intrigued.
A cross between a lute and a document shredder, the hurdy-gurdy has managed to survive a millennium of music and still look unfamiliar.
Hurdy Gurdy Psychedelia – Today's Vinyl Vault.