[ band-wag-uhn ]
/ ˈbændˌwæg ən /
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a wagon, usually large and ornately decorated, for carrying a musical band while it is playing, as in a circus parade or to a political rally.
a party, cause, movement, etc., that by its mass appeal or strength readily attracts many followers: After it became apparent that the incumbent would win, everyone decided to jump on the bandwagon.
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Origin of bandwagon

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55; band1 + wagon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does bandwagon mean?

If you jump on the bandwagon, you join in with the many people who follow, support, or are fans of someone or something popular and/or successful (especially when it is growing in popularity).

Bandwagon is especially used in the context of sports teams, political movements, trends, and entertainment. It is almost always used in the singular in phrases like jump on the bandwagon, hop on the bandwagon, climb on the bandwagon, and get on the bandwagon. A noun is sometimes placed before bandwagon to refer to the thing being followed, such as the name of a particular sports team or TV show, as in people start to jump on the Yankees bandwagon around playoff time.  

It is often used in a mildly negative way as a criticism of those who started following such a thing simply because it was popular or only after it had become popular or successful.

Example: After the introduction of a pro league soccer team to the city, many residents jumped on the superfan bandwagon and started attending games and buying merchandise.

Where does bandwagon come from?

The first records of the word bandwagon come from the 1850s. It was originally and is primarily used in the United States. Originally, a bandwagon was a wagon (or similar vehicle) with a musical band on it—like a float in a parade. In fact, one of the first known uses of the word comes from the famous American circus promoter and showman P. T. Barnum. Such bandwagons were used in political rallies and were intended to draw a crowd, leading to the current metaphorical use.

Bandwagon is still often used in the context of politics, especially when candidates are competing for the chance to be nominated. Jumping on the bandwagon of a popular candidate means beginning to support them. But it can refer to starting to follow or become a fan of any popular thing.

It is perhaps most often applied to new fans of successful sports teams—those who became fans after the team started winning, made the playoffs, or won a championship. Such fans are often called bandwagon fans. It is used in a similar way to refer to people who become fans of bands and pop singers once they get popular. In these two cases (sports and pop culture fandom), it is often used negatively.

You can also jump on the bandwagon of a popular form of entertainment, such as the TV show that everyone’s watching or the video game that everyone’s playing. Sometimes, it’s a popular trend, as in Are you ready to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon? In these cases, getting on the bandwagon is often done so that you can experience what everyone is doing or raving about. Some psychologists call this the bandwagon effect.

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What are some other forms related to bandwagon?

  • bandwagoning (verb)
  • bandwagoner (noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with bandwagon


What are some words that often get used in discussing bandwagon?

How is bandwagon used in real life?

Jumping on the bandwagon is often used negatively, implying that there is some shame in it.



Try using bandwagon!

Is bandwagon used correctly in the following sentence?

My sister jumped on the high-rise jeans bandwagon and bought four new pairs since all her friends at school were wearing them.

How to use bandwagon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bandwagon

/ (ˈbændˌwæɡən) /

US a wagon, usually high and brightly coloured, for carrying the band in a parade
jump on the bandwagon, climb on the bandwagon or get on the bandwagon to join or give support to a party or movement that seems to be assured of success
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