[ ban-joh ]
/ ˈbæn dʒoʊ /

noun, plural ban·jos, ban·joes.

a musical instrument of the guitar family, having a circular body covered in front with tightly stretched parchment and played with the fingers or a plectrum.

Origin of banjo

1730–40; compare Jamaican English banja, bonjour, bangil, Brazilian Portuguese banza; probably of African orig.; compare Kimbundu mbanza a plucked string instrument

Related forms

ban·jo·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for banjo

British Dictionary definitions for banjo


/ (ˈbændʒəʊ) /

noun plural -jos or -joes

a stringed musical instrument with a long neck (usually fretted) and a circular drumlike body overlaid with parchment, plucked with the fingers or a plectrum
slang any banjo-shaped object, esp a frying pan
Australian and NZ slang a long-handled shovel with a wide blade
(modifier) banjo-shapeda banjo clock

Derived Forms

banjoist, noun

Word Origin for banjo

C18: variant (US Southern pronunciation) of bandore
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

Culture definitions for banjo


A stringed musical instrument, played by plucking (see strings). The banjo has a percussive sound and is much used in folk music and bluegrass music.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.