• synonyms


[bong-goh, bawng-]
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noun, plural bon·gos, (especially collectively) bon·go.
  1. a reddish-brown antelope, Taurotragus eurycerus, of the forests of tropical Africa, having white stripes and large, spirally twisted horns.
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Origin of bongo1

1860–65; probably < a Bantu language; compare Lingala mongu an antelope


[bong-goh, bawng-]
noun, plural bon·gos, bon·goes.
  1. one of a pair of small tuned drums, played by beating with the fingers.
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Origin of bongo2

1915–20, Americanism; < American Spanish bongó
Also called bongo drum.
Related formsbon·go·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bongo


noun plural -go or -gos
  1. a rare spiral-horned antelope, Boocercus (or Taurotragus) eurycerus, inhabiting forests of central Africa. The coat is bright red-brown with narrow cream stripes
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Word Origin

of African origin


noun plural -gos or -goes
  1. a small bucket-shaped drum, usually one of a pair, played by beating with the fingers
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Word Origin

American Spanish, probably of imitative origin


  1. Omar . original name Albert Bernard Bongo . 1935–2009, Gabonese statesman; president of Gabon (1967–2009)
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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 bongo


1920, from American Spanish (West Indies, especially Cuba), from a word of West African origin, cf. Lokele (Zaire) boungu.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper