ban·​jo | \ ˈban-(ˌ)jō How to pronounce banjo (audio) \
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 How to pronounce banjoist (audio) \ noun

Examples of banjo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But last month the city of Pittsburgh, Foster’s hometown, removed a controversial statue of him with a black man sitting at his feet, singing and strumming the banjo. Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, "‘My Old Kentucky Home’: The Kentucky Derby’s beloved, fraught sing-along about slavery," 5 May 2018 Thank banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck for a poignant guest performance, as well as Alanis Morissette, who appears on backing vocals. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Here Are 20 Rock Songs That Turn 20 in 2018," 16 Jan. 2018 As Jamie and Claire make a new home in North Carolina, the tune is influenced by folk music, and features the addition of a banjo and more drums. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What the New Opening Credits for Outlander Teach Us About Season 4," 2 Nov. 2018 The line-up from the glory years (1946-48) featured a murderer’s row of talent that included Earl Scruggs on banjo, Lester Flatt on guitar and vocals, and Chubby Wise on fiddle. Eddie Dean, WSJ, "‘Bill Monroe’ and ‘Blue Grass Generation’ Review: The Blue Grass Boy," 27 Sep. 2018 Band members include Alex Berman on banjo and vocals, Ben Kolakowski on guitar and vocals, Alex Tocco on fiddle and vocals, Ryan Rogers on mandolin and Colin Rappa on bass fiddle. Susan Soldavin, Howard County Times, "Summer rocks with musical events and more [Clarksville]," 6 July 2018 With Gatton on banjo, the trio — best known as a rock-and-roll unit — moonlighted as a bluegrass band with singer Liz Meyer. Terence Mcardle, Washington Post, "Billy Hancock, rockabilly performer with outrageous style, dies at 71," 27 Jan. 2018 Then comes a musical plinking, not of a banjo but a ukelele. Billboard, "Aboard the Clearwater: Five Decades of Environmental Activism Rooted In Music," 13 June 2018 Photos line the walls with landscapes from Virginia, and there’s a framed photo in the waiting area of the senator singing and playing the banjo alongside his colleague, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Sen. Mark Warner on breaking up Facebook and Congress’ plan to regulate tech," 5 Nov. 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

19 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for banjo

The first known use of banjo was in 1739

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More Definitions for banjo



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 How to pronounce banjo (audio) \
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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