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From French. Coined as a nonce to advertise a new women's bonnet, mirliton came to be applied to any trifle or trinket before acquiring several specific meanings. Compare the English word folderol.[1]


mirliton (plural mirlitons)

  1. A pear-shaped vegetable or its vine; the chayote.
    • 1988, Rosalind Creasy, Cooking from the garden (page 141)
      To start your mirliton plant, buy the fruit in a produce-oriented market in spring and plant it in full sunlight in fertile, well-drained soil, leaving the stem half of the fruit out of the ground.
    • 1994, Lee Meitzen Grue, Goodbye silver, silver cloud (page 71)
      One day last summer, Stephon and Scarbaby had been on the way to Neidermayer's grocery store, by the short cut, when Scarbaby decided to pick mirlitons off the mirliton vine in the yard by the Lombarde house, which used to be a plantation []
    • 2011, David Hanson, Edwin Marty, Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival (page 48)
      In New Orleans, for example, the mirliton (chayote) tree has grown for centuries []
  2. (music) The eunuch flute, a kind of kazoo or membranophone.
    • 1975, Sibyl Marcuse, A survey of musical instruments (page 172)
      In form the mirlitons resembled flutes, shawms, or other instruments, and were generally furnished with a parchment membrane.
    • 1990, Francis Bebey, African music: a people's art (page 64)
      Whistles, mirlitons, flutes, trumpets or horns, clarinets, and oboes are all played in one or more parts of the continent.
    • 1996, Bart Hopkin, Musical Instrument Design (page 145)
      The bars have air resonators below, and mirliton membranes are set over holes in the resonators (see Figure 10-3C).
  3. An 18th-century hussar hat resembling a slightly conical shako or tall fez.
    • 1985, Emir Bukhari, Napoleon's Line Chasseurs (page 33)
      Headwear: This was either the colpack or the mirliton. Regiments No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9 wore the former; 5, 6, 7 and 8 the latter.
    • 2011, John-Paul Sinclair Lewis, The Tricolor and the Scimitar (page 303):
      Hélie also raised his mirliton in solidarity, but after the initial hooray and bravado, he felt a deep sense of dread.
    • 2012, Philip Haythornthwaite Frederick the Great's Army, volume 1: Cavalry (page 20)
      The headdress was a fur busby for the 1st-4th Regts., and a felt mirliton or Flügelmütze for the remainder (also worn by the 4th, 1752-71).
  4. A tartlet or biscuit garnished with almond, first produced in Rouen around 1800.[2][3]
    • 1827, Antoine B. Beauvilliers, The art of French cookery
      [] Have moulds prepared as for the mirlitons of Rouen; fill them and finish in the same manner.
    • 1874, Jules Gouffé, The Royal Book of Pastry and Confectionery (page 291)
    • 2012, Cooking with the World's Best (Murdoch Books Pty Limited)
      To make the mirliton, in a bowl, break the eggs, add both the sugars, the double cream, almond meal, lemon zest and melted butter.

See also[edit]






mirliton m (plural mirlitons)

  1. "reed-pipe (sort of flute or whistle formed of a reed stopped at both ends with the peel of an onion)"[1]

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ [1].
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 mirliton” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).