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[mahm-boh] /ˈmɑm boʊ/
noun, plural mambos.
a fast ballroom dance of Caribbean origin, rhythmically similar to the rumba and cha-cha but having a more complex pattern of steps.
verb (used without object)
to dance the mambo.
Origin of mambo
Borrowed into English from American Spanish around 1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mambo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thus sometimes the Molimo, or priest of Munwali, and the mambo or chief were different persons.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • "The white gold-seeker does not believe in spirits, and he defies them," mambo repeated in his sing-song voice.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for mambo


noun (pl) -bos
a modern Latin American dance, resembling the rumba, derived from the ritual dance of voodoo
a voodoo priestess
verb -bos, -boing, -boed
(intransitive) to perform this dance
Word Origin
American Spanish, probably from Haitian Creole: voodoo priestess
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mambo

popular dance (like the rhumba but livelier), September 1948, from American Spanish mambo, said by Webster to be from Haitian creole word for "voodoo priestess."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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