Definition of skiffle in English:

skiffle

noun

  • 1British A kind of folk music with a blues or jazz flavour that was popular in the 1950s, played by a small group and often incorporating improvised instruments such as washboards.

    • ‘Ever the wit, the 71-year-old king of skiffle had been closing his shows on that tour with the gospel blues of This May Be The Last Time.’
    • ‘They came a long way from a skiffle group to a big name band for those ‘trend-setters’ who played to so many happy dancers way back then.’
    • ‘Glasgow-born Donegan paved the way for the British pop explosion of the 1960s with skiffle, a blend of folk, blues and jazz.’
    • ‘Donegan's pioneering skiffle music provided inspiration for the British beat boom of the 1950s.’
    • ‘A skiffle group is never gonna happen ever again.’
    • ‘We can't ask him whether he would prefer a father who can kick a ball around or a mother who doesn't remember skiffle.’
    • ‘He was in a school skiffle band at first.’
    • ‘From swing to big bands and from skiffle to psychedelia, the face of music was ever-evolving in the four decades starting in the 1930s.’
    • ‘The production makes good use of rock 'n' roll, the wireless and the skiffle band.’
    • ‘The skiffle star died last week midway through a UK tour after collapsing at the home of friends in Peterborough, where the service took place yesterday.’
    • ‘He started off playing washboard with a skiffle group.’
    • ‘The conversation then drifted onto the place of kazoos in skiffle bands; this made me much happier.’
    • ‘In the mid 50's he was a leading light of the skiffle movement, a genre that would influence the early Beatles incarnation, The Quarrymen.’
    • ‘The first scene sees friends sipping coffee and discussing the skiffle craze that is sweeping Britain.’
    • ‘As a teenager he played guitar and harmonica with local bands and skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll groups.’
    • ‘When jiving and bepop was followed by skiffle, Ronnie's band, The Dominoes, were given a chance to play.’
    • ‘Merseybeat, like skiffle, was a small club music and even if technique was valuable it was rarely shown off: what counted was energy and pace.’
    • ‘When John started a skiffle group, Julia was delighted.’
    • ‘You dress as if you belong to a skiffle group.’
  • 2US A style of 1920s and 1930s jazz deriving from blues, ragtime, and folk music, using both improvised and conventional instruments.

    • ‘Without Elvis, we might all be listening to jazz or skiffle.’
    • ‘Forster makes similar observations on ‘Born to a Family,’ working off of a nice change-of-pace skiffle beat.’
    • ‘On a skiffle groove, the Chicks wag their fingers at the homemakers' life, singing about the pleasures of cooking, dusting, and breeding.’

Origin

1920s: perhaps imitative.

Pronunciation:

skiffle

/ˈskɪf(ə)l/