disc jockey

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A disc jockey.

Alternative forms[edit]


Disc refers to the shape of the carrier holding the music. Jockey refers to a diminutive of jock, the Northern English or Scots colloquial equivalent of the first name John, which is also used generically for “boy, or fellow” (compare Jack, Dick), at least since 1529. So, disc jockey / DJ, refers to a young person playing (with discs holding) music.

Coined by journalist Walter Winchell in 1935 to describe Martin Block. Appeared in print in Variety in 1941.[1]

Previously also called record man.[2]



disc jockey (plural disc jockeys)

  1. (dated, radio) A person who conducts a radio program of recorded music combined with talk, news, commercials, weather, etc.
    • 2014, Dominic Massa, New Orleans Radio, Arcadia Publishing, →ISBN, page 107:
      The show he produced first aired on WJMR, a white-owned New Orleans radio station. The show's disc jockey used the name “Poppa Stoppa” and played what would then be called “race music,” the term given to any music produced by African American artists.
  2. A person who plays, and sometimes mixes, recorded music at nightclubs, dances, parties, or some other social event; and/or as a backup musician for spoken word, or hip hop performers.
    Synonyms: deejay, DJ, (dated) discaire, selector



  1. ^ Marc Fisher (2007) Something in the Air, Random House, →ISBN, page 13
  2. ^ Philip Hamburger (August 17, 1946), “Comment”, in The New Yorker[1], page 14

Further reading[edit]



Unadapted borrowing from English disc jockey.


disc jockey m or f by sense (plural disc jockeys)

  1. disc jockey
    Synonym: disco-jóquei