tam·​bou·​rine | \ ˌtam-bə-ˈrēn How to pronounce tambourine (audio) \

Definition of tambourine

: a small drum especially : a shallow one-headed drum with loose metallic disks at the sides played especially by shaking or striking with the hand

Illustration of tambourine

Illustration of tambourine

Examples of tambourine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By the song’s end, Carlisle had grabbed a tambourine and was shimmying along with the tune. Annie Zaleski, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2021 The Jack bottle was an accessory, same as a mic or a tambourine. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 4 Nov. 2021 Some people in these parts believe the buzz of cicadas — like the tambourine shake of a rattlesnake — means a thunderstorm is rolling in. Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2021 Sure, Keith Richards’ riff and the risqué-for-the-time lyrics are what are most remembered, but Watts’ complex, un-obvious rhythm, punctuated with stabs of tambourine, is what gives this all-time classic rock and roll song its pulse. Jem Aswad, Variety, 24 Aug. 2021 Ogilvie shook her tambourine and led the congregation in song. Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2021 The group inched its way up Peachtree Street to a soundtrack of chants, kazoos and a tambourine. Tamar Hallerman, ajc, 24 June 2021 Now and then, percussionist Drew Lang added a zestful spice to the orchestra’s sound with a shaking tambourine or tinkling triangle. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 13 June 2021 Imagine hearing a good jazz piece, and here comes the tambourine. BostonGlobe.com, 11 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tambourine.' 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 tambourine

1579, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tambourine

Middle French tambourin, diminutive of tambour

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Time Traveler for tambourine

Time Traveler

The first known use of tambourine was in 1579

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Cite this Entry

“Tambourine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tambourine. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for tambourine



English Language Learners Definition of tambourine

: a small musical instrument that is held in one hand and played by shaking or hitting it with the other hand


tam·​bou·​rine | \ ˌtam-bə-ˈrēn How to pronounce tambourine (audio) \

Kids Definition of tambourine

: a small shallow drum with only one head and loose metal disks around the rim that is played by shaking or hitting with the hand

More from Merriam-Webster on tambourine

Nglish: Translation of tambourine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tambourine for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tambourine


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