ma·​rim·​ba mə-ˈrim-bə How to pronounce marimba (audio)
: a xylophone of southern Africa and Central America with resonators beneath each bar
also : a modern form of this instrument
marimbist noun

Examples of marimba in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As a percussionist on campus, Tae is our center marimba for our marching band, our winter drumline, our concert percussion, and our drum set player for our jazz band. Heide Janssen, Orange County Register, 17 Mar. 2024 Apparently, performing Musser’s etudes for marimba is a rite of passage for percussion majors. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Oct. 2023 Jacob was nearly vibrating with excitement as the strings rippled and marimba clattered. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2023 Children can also experiment with a wall of castanets, play a giant wooden marimba and, just by pushing bellows, make music on a giant air organ patterned after an 1830 design by Thomas Appleton. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Caroline Shaw’s Taxidermy (2012), which calls for vibraphone, marimba and an assortment of flower pots, displayed a similar interest in nontraditional sounds. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 27 May 2021 As a tracking line moves downward across the image, additional background galaxies and stars are punctuated as different glass marimba notes alongside a host of other ambient, representational tones. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 21 June 2023 My family would host parties where marimba bands would set up on the patio. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2023 The musical ensemble will include a string quartet, clarinets, marimba, timpani and glockenspiel. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Apr. 2023

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

Word History


of Bantu origin; akin to Kimbundu marimba xylophone

First Known Use

1704, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of marimba was in 1704

Dictionary Entries Near marimba

Cite this Entry

“Marimba.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ma·​rim·​ba mə-ˈrim-bə How to pronounce marimba (audio)
: a musical instrument resembling a xylophone but with tubes under each bar to help increase the sound

More from Merriam-Webster on marimba

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!