ban·​jo | \ˈban-(ˌ)jō \
plural banjos also banjoes

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

Illustration of banjo

Illustration of banjo

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Other Words from banjo

banjoist \ ˈban-​ˌjō-​ist \ noun

Examples of banjo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Diabate also plays guitar and banjo, teasing out the rippling polyrhythmic patterns of Malian music on those instruments as well. John Adamian,, "Music Festivals And Concerts Not To Miss This Week," 18 June 2018 Performances will range from banjo music, to the fife and drum, to African-American songs and stories provided by Washington, D.C.-based Jubilee Voices. Cody Boteler,, "Banneker Historical Park and Museum to host annual 'Colonial Market Fair'," 8 June 2018 The banjo-playing Abrams has performed there for decades with the Moody Street String Band. Sean P. Murphy,, "Beware of that free raffle: It may be something else," 6 May 2018 Friddle will use his fiddle, banjo and guitar and tell stories about his upbringing and his grandfather’s experiences in World War II. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "Lake Forest's Ragdale campus starts summer tours and concert series this month," 5 June 2018 For more information, go to Invoke in S.F. Invoke, the Austin, Texas, foursome that augments traditional string quartet instrumentation with banjo and mandolin, plays original music encompassing bluegrass, minimalism and jazz. Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF State’s new Global Museum to house Sutro’s Egyptian Collection," 11 Apr. 2018 Stephenson is best known for challenging LeBron James -- giving him a choke sign, blowing in his ear and playing physical defense -- and other antics on the court, such as simulating playing a banjo. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers moving on from Lance Stephenson signals effort to make significant upgrade," 25 June 2018 Diabate plays the ngoni, a lute-like instrument that is commonly thought to be the ancestor of the banjo. John Adamian,, "Music Festivals And Concerts Not To Miss This Week," 18 June 2018 In December 2010, a mysterious banjo tune popped up on a website devoted to early recordings. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, "This mysterious recording was the missing musical link to an era when racism was the tune," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banjo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of banjo

1739, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for banjo

probably of African origin; akin to Kimbundu mbanza, a similar instrument

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Statistics for banjo

Last Updated

29 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for banjo

The first known use of banjo was in 1739

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English Language Learners Definition of banjo

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


ban·​jo | \ˈban-jō \
plural banjos

Kids Definition of banjo

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on banjo

Spanish Central: Translation of banjo

Nglish: Translation of banjo for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about banjo

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