One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A musical instrument with a nasal tone produced by a vibrating membrane, typically a toy instrument resembling a kazoo.
2USanother term for chayote (sense 1)
- ‘It is also known as mirliton and a vegetable pear.’
- ‘The mirliton turned out to be the Louisiana name for chayote, a light-green ridged fruit you may have seen in ethnic grocery stores.’
- ‘Not so the cheese-stuffed huisquil - more commonly called chayote squash, mirliton or vegetable pear in Texas - that came off watery and wan.’
- ‘She didn't have any fresh xuxu either, a squash-like veggie also known as chayotte or mirliton.’
- ‘Daily specials are written on a board and include fresh fish and pintade (guinea hen), along with hearty vegetable and meat stews featuring eggplant, spinach or the more exotic mirliton.’
Early 19th century: from French, ‘reed pipe’, of imitative origin.
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