The ukulele is a small instrument with a long history. You might not know it, but the Hawaiian word “ukulele” translates to “jumping flea.”
If you’ve played or heard the instrument, you probably understand how it got this name. Your fingers move quickly over the strings, jumping around to play a song. The four strings create a bright, happy sound when you pluck them.
If the idea of a flea puts you off, there’s another theory about this instrument’s name. In Hawaiian, “uku” translates to “gift,” and “lele” means “to come.” Put together, the word means “the gift that came here.”