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[kuh-zoo] /kəˈzu/

noun, plural kazoos.
a musical toy consisting of a tube that is open at both ends and has a hole in the side covered with parchment or membrane, which produces a buzzing sound when the performer hums into one end.
Also called mirliton.

noun (pl) -zoos
a cigar-shaped musical instrument of metal or plastic with a membranous diaphragm of thin paper that vibrates with a nasal sound when the player hums into it

1884, American English, probably altered from earlier bazoo “trumpet” (1877); probably ultimately imitative (cf. bazooka). In England, formerly called a Timmy Talker, in France, a mirliton.

Kazoos, the great musical wonder, … anyone can play it; imitates fowls, animals, bagpipes, etc. [1895 Montgomery Ward catalogue, p.245]


[1970s+; origin unknown; perhaps fr Louisiana French zoozoo, ”buttocks, ass”; perhaps kazoo, known in its standard sense fr the 1880s, suggested the anus in being tubular and emitting sounds]


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