rum·​ba ˈrəm-bə How to pronounce rumba (audio)
variants or less commonly rhumba
: a ballroom dance of Cuban origin in ²/₄ or ⁴/₄ time with a basic pattern of step-close-step and marked by a delayed transfer of weight and pronounced hip movements
also : the music for this dance

Examples of rumba in a Sentence

The band played a rumba.
Recent Examples on the Web The influence of Cuban rumba elements in the local Congolese music and dance particularly the maringa, which had basic movements in common with the Cuban rumba, resulted in the emergence of the modern Congolese rumba in the 1950s. Uwagbale Edward-Ekpu, Quartz, 21 Dec. 2021 Monday's rumba marked a vast improvement for Slater and Donovan. Dory Jackson, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2022 Earning the nickname the King of Latin Music, the multi-hyphenate musician put Caribbean styles — including mambo, salsa, boogaloo, cha-cha-cha, rumba, guaracha and Afro-Cuban jazz — on the global map. Isabela Raygoza, Billboard, 20 Apr. 2023 Foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, bolero, cha-cha — anyone who visits the VietAID social hall in Fields Corner can learn. Robert Weisman,, 25 Mar. 2023 Cha cha is such a hard dance to learn, and so is the rumba. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 19 Oct. 2022 Some enter competitions, instructors say, but most are there simply to learn the rumba, cha-cha, tango, waltz, salsa or fox trot. Livia Albeck-Ripka, New York Times, 24 Jan. 2023 Two of Cruz’s ​​Cuban rumba dresses, known as bata cubana, and a pair of gold shoes are part of the museum’s collections. Jacquelyne Germain, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 There is a big rumba influence on it, with this baile funk rhythm. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 21 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History


American Spanish

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rumba was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near rumba

Cite this Entry

“Rumba.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


rum·​ba ˈrəm-bə How to pronounce rumba (audio)
: a dance of Cuban origin

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