1 of 2

noun (1)

bon·​go ˈbäŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce bongo (audio)
plural bongos also bongoes
: one of a pair of small connected drums of different sizes and pitches played with the hands
bongoist noun


2 of 2

noun (2)

plural bongo or bongos
: an African antelope (Tragelaphus eurycerus synonym Boocerus euryceros) that is chestnut red with narrow white vertical stripes and is found in forests from Sierra Leone to Kenya

Word History


Noun (1)

American Spanish bongó

Noun (2)

probably from Kele (Bantu language of Gabon)

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1920, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1861, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bongo was in 1861

Dictionary Entries Near bongo

Cite this Entry

“Bongo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural bongos also bongoes
: either of a pair of small drums of different sizes fitted together and played with the fingers

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