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  1. a company of persons or, sometimes, animals or things, joined, acting, or functioning together; aggregation; party; troop: a band of protesters.
  2. Music.
    1. a group of instrumentalists playing music of a specialized type: rock band; calypso band; mariachi band.
    2. a musical group, usually employing brass, percussion, and often woodwind instruments, that plays especially for marching or open-air performances.
    3. big band.
    4. dance band.
  3. a division of a nomadic tribe; a group of individuals who move and camp together and subsist by hunting and gathering.
  4. a group of persons living outside the law: a renegade band.
verb (used with object)
  1. to unite in a troop, company, or confederacy.
verb (used without object)
  1. to unite; confederate (often followed by together): They banded together to oust the chairman.
  1. to beat the band, Informal. energetically; abundantly: It rained all day to beat the band.

Origin of band

1480–90; < Middle French bande < Italian banda; cognate with Late Latin bandum < Germanic; akin to Gothic bandwa standard, band2, band3, bend1, bond1

Synonyms for band

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Synonym study

1. See company.


  1. a thin, flat strip of some material for binding, confining, trimming, protecting, etc.: a band on each bunch of watercress.
  2. a fillet, belt, or strap: a band for the hair; a band for connecting pulleys.
  3. a stripe, as of color or decorative work.
  4. a strip of paper or other material serving as a label: a cigar band.
  5. a plain or simply styled ring, without mounted gems or the like: a thin gold band on his finger.
  6. (on a long-playing phonograph record) one of a set of grooves in which sound has been recorded, separated from an adjacent set or sets by grooves without recorded sound.
  7. bands. Geneva bands.
  8. a flat collar commonly worn by men and women in the 17th century in western Europe.
  9. Also called frequency band, wave band. Radio and Television. a specific range of frequencies, especially a set of radio frequencies, as HF, VHF, and UHF.
  10. Also called energy band. Physics. a closely spaced group of energy levels of electrons in a solid.
  11. Computers. one or more tracks or channels on a magnetic drum.
  12. Dentistry. a strip of thin metal encircling a tooth, usually for anchoring an orthodontic apparatus.
  13. Anatomy, Zoology. a ribbonlike or cordlike structure encircling, binding, or connecting a part or parts.
  14. (in handbound books) one of several cords of hemp or flax handsewn across the back of the collated signatures of a book to provide added strength.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mark, decorate, or furnish with a band or bands.

Origin of band

1480–90; < Middle French; Old French bende < Germanic; compare Old High German binta fillet. See bind, band1
Related formsband·er, nounband·less, adjective


noun Archaic.
  1. Usually bands. articles for binding the person or the limbs; shackles; manacles; fetters.
  2. an obligation; bond: the nuptial bands.

Origin of band

1100–50; late Old English < Old Norse band; cognate with Old Saxon, Old Frisian band, Old High German bant; akin to Sanskrit bandha-. See band1

Geneva bands

plural noun
  1. two bands or pendent stripes made usually of white lawn and worn at the throat as part of clerical garb, originally by the Swiss Calvinist clergy.

Origin of Geneva bands

First recorded in 1880–85
Also called bands. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for band

Contemporary Examples of band

Historical Examples of band

British Dictionary definitions for band


  1. a company of people having a common purpose; groupa band of outlaws
  2. a group of musicians playing either brass and percussion instruments only (brass band) or brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments (concert band or military band)
  3. a group of musicians who play popular music, jazz, etc, often for dancing
  4. a group of instrumentalists generally; orchestra
  5. Canadian a formally recognized group of Canadian Indians on a reserve
  6. anthropol a division of a tribe; a family group or camp group
  7. US and Canadian a flock or herd
  1. (usually foll by together) to unite; assemble

Word Origin for band

C15: from French bande probably from Old Provençal banda of Germanic origin; compare Gothic bandwa sign, banner


  1. a thin flat strip of some material, used esp to encircle objects and hold them togethera rubber band
    1. a strip of fabric or other material used as an ornament or distinguishing mark, or to reinforce clothing
    2. (in combination)waistband; hairband; hatband
  2. a stripe of contrasting colour or textureSee also chromosome band
  3. a driving belt in machinery
  4. a range of values that are close or related in number, degree, or quality
    1. physicsa range of frequencies or wavelengths between two limits
    2. radiosuch a range allocated to a particular broadcasting station or service
  5. short for energy band
  6. computing one or more tracks on a magnetic disk or drum
  7. anatomy any structure resembling a ribbon or cord that connects, encircles, or binds different parts
  8. the cords to which the folded sheets of a book are sewn
  9. a thin layer or seam of ore
  10. architect a strip of flat panelling, such as a fascia or plinth, usually attached to a wall
  11. a large white collar, sometimes edged with lace, worn in the 17th century
  12. either of a pair of hanging extensions of the collar, forming part of academic, legal, or (formerly) clerical dress
  13. a ring for the finger (esp in phrases such as wedding band, band of gold, etc)
verb (tr)
  1. to fasten or mark with a band
  2. US and Canadian to ring (a bird)See ring 1 (def. 22)

Word Origin for band

C15: from Old French bende, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German binda fillet; see band ³


  1. an archaic word for bond (def. 1), bond (def. 3), bond (def. 4)

Word Origin for band

C13: from Old Norse band; related to Old High German bant fetter; see bend 1, bond

Geneva bands

pl n
  1. a pair of white lawn or linen strips hanging from the front of the neck or collar of some ecclesiastical and academic robes

Word Origin for Geneva bands

C19: named after Geneva, where originally worn by Swiss Calvinist clergy
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

Word Origin and History for band

"a flat strip," also "something that binds," a merger of two words, ultimately from the same source. In the sense "that by which someone or something is bound," it is attested from early 12c., from Old Norse band "thin strip that ties or constrains," from Proto-Germanic *bindan, from PIE *bendh- "to bind" (cf. Gothic bandi "that which binds; Sanskrit bandhah "a tying, bandage," source of bandana; Middle Irish bainna "bracelet;" see bend (v.), bind (v.)). Most of the figurative senses of this word have passed into bond (n.), which originally was a phonetic variant of this band.

The meaning "a flat strip" (late 14c.) is from Old French bande "strip, edge, side," via Old North French bende, from Old High German binda, from Proto-Germanic *bindan (see above). In Middle English, this was distinguished by the spelling bande, but since the loss of the final -e the words have fully merged. Meaning "broad stripe of color" is from late 15c.; the electronics sense of "range of frequencies or wavelengths" is from 1922. The Old North French form was retained in heraldic bend. Band saw is recorded from 1864.


"an organized group," late 15c., from Middle French bande, which is traceable to the Proto-Germanic root of band (n.1), probably via a band of cloth worn as a mark of identification by a group of soldiers or others (cf. Gothic bandwa "a sign"). The extension to "group of musicians" is c.1660, originally musicians attached to a regiment of the army. To beat the band (1897) is to make enough noise to drown it out, hence to exceed everything.


1520s, "to bind or fasten;" also "to join in a company," from band (n.1) and (n.2) in various noun senses, and partly from French bander. The meaning "to affix an ID band to (a wild animal, etc.)" is attested from 1914. Related: Banded; banding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

band in Medicine


  1. An appliance or a part of an apparatus that encircles or binds a part of the body.
  2. A cordlike tissue that connects or that holds bodily structures together.
  3. A chromatically, structurally, or functionally differentiated strip or stripe in or on an organism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

band in Science


  1. A specific range of electromagnetic wavelengths or frequencies, as those used in radio broadcasting.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with band


see on the bandwagon; to beat the band.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.