Singing without a live orchestra or band. Originally meaning "without orchestra," it is a combination of Japanese "kara" meaning "empty/bare-handed" as in "karate", and the "okee" sound from the first syllable of "orchestra" as pronounced by Japanese.
The guy who thought up karaoke created a bar owner's dream, because as patrons provide their own entertainment by singing along with a machine, management saves a fortune by not hiring talented musicians.
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