noun \ˈban-(ˌ)jō\

: a musical instrument like a small guitar with a round body, a long neck, and four or five strings

plural banjos also banjoes

Full Definition of BANJO

:  a musical instrument with a drumlike body, a fretted neck, and usually four or five strings which may be plucked or strummed
ban·jo·ist \-ˌjō-ist\ noun

Illustration of BANJO

Origin of BANJO

probably of African origin; akin to Kimbundu mbanza, a similar instrument
First Known Use: 1739


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Plucked stringed musical instrument of African origin. It has a tambourine-like body, four or five strings, and a long fretted neck. The fifth string (if present) is pegged at the fifth fret and acts primarily as a drone plucked by the thumb. In its original form, the banjo had only four strings and lacked frets. Slaves introduced the instrument to the U.S., where it was popularized in 19th-century minstrel shows and thence exported to Europe. It has been an important American folk instrument, especially in bluegrass, and it was used in early jazz.


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