Etymology
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ukulele (n.)

1896, from Hawaiian 'ukulele, literally "leaping flea," from 'uku "louse, flea" + lele "to fly, jump, leap." Noted earlier in English as the Hawaiian word for "flea." The instrument so called from the rapid motion of the fingers in playing it. It developed from a Portuguese instrument introduced to the islands c. 1879.

updated on February 26, 2014

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Definitions of ukulele from WordNet

ukulele (n.)
a small guitar having four strings;
Synonyms: uke
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.