One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The action of playing the barrel organ.
That is an organ-grinder; that plays the barrel organ.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in The Times. From organ + grinding, after organ-grinder, organ-grinding<br>early 19th century; earliest use found in John Wolcot (d. 1819), poet and satirist. From organ + grinding, after organ-grinder.
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