The noun is a blend of music + the letters ak from Kodak, a well-known brand in 1934 when the word was coined by the American inventor, scientist, and soldier George Owen Squier (1865–1934), who developed the original technical basis for the service.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈmjuːzæk/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈmjuzæk/
- Hyphenation: Mu‧zak
- (music, trademark) Recorded background music characterized by soft, soothing instrumental sounds which is transmitted by wire, radio, or recorded media (originally on a subscription basis) to doctors' offices, shops, and other business premises. [from 1934]
- 1975 February 7, Michael Gross, quoting Tom Turicchi, “The Hits Just Keep on Coming”, in Robert Atwan; Barry Orton; William Vesterman, American Mass Media: Industries and Issues, New York, N.Y.: Random House, published 1978, →ISBN, part 3 (The Sound Media), page 320, column 2:
- There's no way I can change internal body functions. Only yogis can do that. Muzak, for example, can't change you. Aaron Copeland [i.e., Aaron Copland] calls Muzak 'the obsequious.' We're super-saturated with shitty music. [Originally published in New Times.]
- 1983 November, Bill Hunter, “It’s Muzak through Your Ears”, in Robert Atwan; Barry Orton; William Vesterman, American Mass Media: Industries and Issues, 3rd edition, New York, N.Y.: Random House, published 1986, →ISBN, part 3 (The Sound Media), page 289, column 1:
- (music) Easy listening music, whether played live or recorded, especially if regarded as uninteresting.
- 2005 May 21, David Foster Wallace, This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life, New York, N.Y.: Little, Brown and Company, published April 2009, →ISBN:
- [T]he supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping, and the store is hideously, fluorescently lit, and infused with soul-killing Muzak or corporate pop, and it's pretty much the last place you want to be, but you can't just get in and quickly out.
- (figuratively) Something (such as speech) regarded as droning on and often boring, or soothing but undemanding.
- To provide (premises, etc.) with Muzak.
- To adapt or reduce (a piece of music, etc.) to the status of Muzak.
- Muzaked (adjective)
- ^ “Muzak, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; “muzak, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
- ^ David Toop (20 January 2001) , “Environmental music [background music]”, in Grove Music Online, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, DOI:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.43820, OCLC 541463444.
- ^ “Muzak, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2018.