banjo

noun

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

Examples of banjo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s something earthy about Rogers’s presence (she was brought up in rural Maryland, and played the harp and the banjo as a teen-ager), yet the song’s production is spectral, icy, electronic. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 What's more, the banjo was prominently featured in degrading blackface minstrel shows. Aaron Cohen, NPR, 5 Apr. 2024 Prince Naveen was shown plucking a banjo, his eyes rolling and blinking in time with his strumming. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 In the documentary, which spawned a Billboard chart-topping soundtrack titled Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns, there is an extensive exploration of the African roots of the banjo and how pivotal the instrument was, in addition to Black and Mexican musicians, in cultivating the genre. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 3 Apr. 2024 The documentary offers glimpses of what Martin is like as a father: leaving cute video messages, teaching the banjo and making time in his still-busy schedule for his daughter. Jack Smart, Peoplemag, 2 Apr. 2024 However, reportedly due to scheduling conflicts, Ed Norton ended up stepping in as replacement — and there are pictures of him strumming a banjo to prove it. Bethy Squires, Vulture, 26 Mar. 2024 The band consists of brothers Scott Avett (banjo, lead vocals, guitar, piano, kick-drum) and Seth Avett (guitar, lead vocals, piano, hi-hat), with Bob Crawford (double bass, electric bass, violin, backing vocals) and Joe Kwon (cello, backing vocals). Eric E. Harrison, arkansasonline.com, 15 Mar. 2024 With Garcia on banjo, Rowan playing guitar, and Grisman taking up mandolin duties, the ensemble also featured Kahn on bass. Garret K. Woodward, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'banjo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/banjo. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

banjo

noun
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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!