Why do we call a coin-operated machine that plays music a jukebox?
We're about to get a bit gamey. No offense is intended to anyone.
"Juke" derives from Gullah dialect, spoken by people of
African descent living in the Southeastern United States.
"Juke joints" [slang], were originally "disorderly" houses, places of
ill repute, a characterization that had nothing to do with
the quality of their housekeeping. Eventually the term also
applied to roadhouses that just served liquor.
In the roadhouses juke organs, coin-operated hurdy-gurdies,
played music when you deposited a nickel. When similar
machines playing records for a nickel were introduced during
the swing era, they were called jukeboxes for their
resemblance to the juke organs. But try to operate them
today with a nickel and the juke will be on you.
(Source: A DICTIONARY OF AMERICANISMS edited by Mitford M. Mathews)