ban·​jo ˈban-(ˌ)jō How to pronounce banjo (audio)
plural banjos also banjoes
: a musical instrument with a drumlike body, a fretted neck, and usually four or five strings which may be plucked or strummed
banjoist noun

Illustration of banjo

Illustration of banjo

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Barnhart enjoyed playing golf, playing the banjo and listening to bluegrass music. Bob Goldsborough,, 12 July 2021 The steady thumping of a drum melded with salsa music and Mexican corridos as a man plucked at a banjo on the sidewalk nearby. José Ignacio Castañeda Perez, The Arizona Republic, 7 Nov. 2022 Burwell also incorporated whistling, humming, yodelling, and a banjo. David Owen, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 The streets of Allston Thursday were full of people, who found everything from desks to mattresses — and even a banjo. Camilo Fonseca,, 1 Sep. 2022 Now, there are thousands of varieties, from a character dressed as a giant slice of pizza to a banjo-toting Kermit the Frog. Telis Demos, WSJ, 24 Oct. 2022 In much of the work, the orchestra acts as Giddens’ banjo. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2022 But Scruggs’s innovative banjo style started long before he was hired by Monroe. Noah Schaffer,, 19 Oct. 2022 The banjo virtuoso also won Instrumental Group of the Year, Banjo Player of the Year, and Instrumental Recording of the Year. Garret K. Woodward, Rolling Stone, 30 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1739, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of banjo was in 1739

Dictionary Entries Near banjo

Cite this Entry

“Banjo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



ban·​jo ˈban-jō How to pronounce banjo (audio)
plural banjos also banjoes
: a musical instrument with a round body like a drum, a long fretted neck, and four or five strings
banjoist noun

More from Merriam-Webster on banjo

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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