The ukulele is often referred to as the “jumping flea,” and this nickname has an interesting origin. The name “ukulele” itself is derived from the Hawaiian words “uku,” meaning “flea,” and “lele,” meaning “jumping.” When Portuguese immigrants brought small, guitar-like instruments to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 19th century, the Hawaiians were fascinated by the rapid and nimble finger movements of the Portuguese players. The players’ fingers appeared to jump across the strings like fleas, and this led to the nickname “ukulele” or “jumping flea” for the instrument.
The nickname reflects the quick and agile fingerpicking style associated with playing the ukulele. It’s a charming and fitting name that has become an endearing part of the ukulele’s history and culture.
10 Nicknames for the Ukulele
- Jumping Flea
- Hawaiian Guitar
- Little Guitar
- Island Instrument
- Laid-back Lute
- Mini Guitar
- Tiny Tim’s Favorite
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