Definition of organ grinder in English:

organ grinder


  • 1A street musician who plays a barrel organ.

    • ‘The melodies are recommended to street organ-grinders, if any still exist.’
    • ‘Charles Dickens, among others, got organ-grinders banned from the streets of London once upon a time.’
    • ‘New trades and entertainments became dependent on resourceful immigrants from poorer countries: in the early 19th century, Italian organ-grinders multiplied through London, with their monkeys.’
    • ‘The funhouse atmosphere will also include loonie hotdogs, free popcorn, face-painting, buskers, an organ-grinder, and roving improv performers.’
    • ‘I remember with a peculiar vividness an organ-grinder who came around with a monkey, and the accuracy with which the monkey could catch a ball.’
    1. 1.1 A person in control of another.
      ‘I'm not just a monkey dancing to the organ grinder's tune’
      • ‘After all, why bother choosing the monkey when you can own the organ-grinder?’
      • ‘He had originally intended to stand against the Defence Secretary, but was persuaded to, in his words, ‘take on the organ-grinder rather than the monkey’.’
      • ‘To which one might well ask - so why vote for the Tory monkey when we can vote for the Labour organ-grinder?’
      • ‘Trimble remarked: ‘I don't want to talk to this monkey. Where's the organ-grinder?’’


organ grinder