- a term used to refer to a black person, especially a male.
- a term used to refer to a Latin American of black and Native American ancestry, or a person of black and white ancestry.
Origin of sambo
Examples from the Web for sambo
My understanding is that this artwork came first and was soon replaced with the “Sambo as a baby genie” motif.Pancakes and Pickaninnies: The Saga of ‘Sambo’s,’ The ‘Racist’ Restaurant Chain America Once Loved
June 30, 2014
"Your turn now, Sambo," I told the peon after the sailor had gone.The Pirate of Panama
William MacLeod Raine
Sambo cut him down when he was as black in the face as the honest negro himself.Stories of Comedy
It was not Sambo, however, but Legree, who was pursuing them with violent execrations.Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The pair were driven back to his plantation, and that afternoon Sambo brought him to me.The Kentucky Ranger
Edward T. Curnick
Then he once more raised his rifle, and pointed it at Sambo.Dick Leslie's Luck
- slang an archaic and taboo word for a Black person: once used as a term of address
- archaic the offspring of a Black person and a member of another race or a mulatto
- a type of wrestling based on judo that originated in Russia and now features in international competitions
Word Origin and History for sambo
"person of mixed blood in America and Asia," 1748, perhaps from Spanish zambo "bandy-legged," probably from Latin scambus "bow-legged," from Greek skambos. Used variously in different regions to indicate some mixture of African, European, and Indian blood; common senses were "child of black and Indian parentage" and "offspring of a black and a mulatto."
stereotypical name for male black person (now only derogatory), 1818, American English, probably a different word from sambo (n.1); like many such words (Cuffy, Rastus, etc.) a common personal name among U.S. blacks in the slavery days (first attested 1704 in Boston), probably from an African source, cf. Foulah sambo "uncle," or a similar Hausa word meaning "second son."
It could be used without conscious racism or contempt until circa World War II. When the word fell from polite usage, collateral casualties included the enormously popular children's book "The Story of Little Black Sambo" (by Helen Bannerman), which is about an East Indian child, and the Sambo's Restaurant chain, a U.S. pancake-specialty joint originally opened in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1957 (the name supposedly from a merging of the names of the founders, Sam Battistone and Newell "Bo" Bohnett, but the chain's decor and advertising leaned heavily on the book), which once counted 1,200 units coast-to-coast. Civil rights agitation against it began in 1970s and the chain collapsed, though the original restaurant still is open. Many of the defunct restaurants were taken over by rival Denny's.