Home » Segments » What’s the Origin of the Word “Kazoo”?

What’s the Origin of the Word “Kazoo”?

Play episode

Patrick from Bolton Landing, New York, visited a kazoo factory and museum in Beauford, South Carolina, which led him to wonder about the name of this buzzing musical instrument. The etymology is uncertain, but we do know that it’s also been called a gazoo, and that it was preceded by a similar instrument called a mirliton or unit flute. In the late 1800s when the word kazoo first appeared, there were several similar-sounding words for “fool” or “stupid person,” including gazook, gazabo, gazebo, and gazoo. These might have influenced the development of the name of an instrument that makes a silly sound. This is part of a complete episode.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show


The Irish English word bockety describes someone who has difficulty walking, or something that’s fallen into a state of disrepair, as...