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[sam-buh, sahm-] /ˈsæm bə, ˈsɑm-/
noun, plural sambas.
a rhythmic, Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin.
verb (used without object), sambaed, sambaing.
to dance the samba.
Origin of samba
First recorded in 1880-85, samba is from the Portuguese word samba, alleged to be of African orig. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for samba
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The years passed away, and samba had become a tall and strong youth.

  • samba lang tung pagkaigúa, It was pure luck that you hit it.

  • samba had but to stretch out his hand to make prisoners of what he chose.

    Samba Herbert Strang
  • One and all, the children of Banonga were deft with their fingers, and none so deft as samba.

    Samba Herbert Strang
  • samba made no resistance when Nando lifted him and carried him to the centre of the clearing.

    Samba Herbert Strang
British Dictionary definitions for samba


noun (pl) -bas
a lively modern ballroom dance from Brazil in bouncy duple time
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance
verb -bas, -baing, -baed
(intransitive) to perform such a dance
Word Origin
Portuguese, of African origin
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 samba

Brazilian dance of African origin, 1885, Zemba, from Portuguese samba, shortened form of zambacueca, a type of dance, probably altered (by influence of zamacueco "stupid") from zambapalo, the name of a grotesque dance, itself an alteration of zampapalo "stupid man," from zamparse "to bump, crash." As a verb from 1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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