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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1949, perhaps from Creole French pronunciation of French les haricots "the beans," part of the title of a popular dance tune ("les haricots sont pas salés").


n. A form of folk music originating among the Creole people of south-west Louisiana, using accordions and washboards heavily.


n. music of southern Louisiana that combines French dance melodies with Caribbean music and blues


Zydeco is a musical genre evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends blues, rhythm and blues, and music indigenous to the Louisiana Creoles and the Native people of Louisiana.

Zydeco (dance)

Zydeco as a dance style has its roots in a form of folk dance that corresponds to the heavily syncopated zydeco music, originated in the beginning of the 20th century among the Francophone Creole peoples of Acadiana (south-west Louisiana). It is a partner dance that has been primarily danced socially and sometimes in performances.

The follower usually mirrors the steps of the leader however in some figures the steps may be completely different, allowing for self-expression and improvisation. Because of the very lively music, the overall style is small sidewise steps with relatively steady upper body and no hip swinging, wiggling or jumping. There are exceptions to this rule, but feel of the zydeco is very real and consistent. Zydeco dance can be described as the opposite of swing or ballroom since the direction or feel of the dance is down, not up like swing or ballroom.

Usage examples of "zydeco".

Loud rocking zydeco music blasted through the walls, the volume rising as the screen door swung open and a pair of couples descended the steps, laughing.

Caprice in under the carport beside the house as Zachary Richard sang a zydeco jingle for a casino downriver.

Rock, jazz, and Zydeco vied for sound supremacy, along with the notes of a lone saxophone being played somewhere in the distance.

Usually it featured musical acts, and even tonight zydeco and blues reverberated from the mortar-and-redbrick walls.

This close to the dining tent, though, the zydeco all but drowned the other out.

He filled the darkness with zydeco, the bluesy Cajun-Black mixture he remembered from his childhood.

But he fancied himself the next Garth Brooks of the Bayou with his combination of country, zydeco, and Cajun music, which he played on off nights going from one dive to another across Louisiana.

Saturday nights, they vary between live salsa, zydeco and blues bands.

In a flash, the five men started thrashing out a zydeco tune complete with lyrics sung in Creole French.

Music would occasionally drift out of the buildings and cars they passed: jazz, zydeco, rock, and even a country tune every now and again.

For the past hour, the radio had been turned to a Louisiana station playing plangent Cajun and Zydeco music - high, shrill voices and accordions and fiddles double-bowed.

He opened the door to a blast of jumpy zydeco, the scent of garlic and whiskey.

He took the girl to a colored place in Breaux Bridge, I guess it was, a zydeco place or something like that.

She's got more than 500: Everything from Acid House to Zydeco, in no order whatsoever.