The whole fleet of vehicles caught in the circle stops and starts to the eye-rhythm established, and a loud fairground hurdy-gurdy on the sound track synchronises all the movements into an unexpected, ravishingly beautiful and joyous merry-go-round.
-- David Bellos, Jacques Tati, 1999
The thump of rugs being beaten was sometimes joined by a hurdy-gurdy, which was painted brown and mounted on squalid cart wheels, with a circular design on its front depicting an idyllic brook…
-- Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift, 1970
Hurdy-gurdy entered English in the 1740s. It is a variant of the Scots word hirdy-girdy meaning "uproar."