noun, plural mam·bos.

a fast ballroom dance of Caribbean origin, rhythmically similar to the rumba and cha-cha but having a more complex pattern of steps.

verb (used without object)

to dance the mambo.

Origin of mambo

Borrowed into English from American Spanish around 1945–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mambo

Contemporary Examples of mambo

Historical Examples of mambo

  • Thus sometimes the Molimo, or priest of Munwali, and the Mambo or chief were different persons.

  • "The white gold-seeker does not believe in spirits, and he defies them," Mambo repeated in his sing-song voice.

British Dictionary definitions for mambo


noun plural -bos

a modern Latin American dance, resembling the rumba, derived from the ritual dance of voodoo
a voodoo priestess

verb -bos, -boing or -boed

(intr) to perform this dance

Word Origin for mambo

American Spanish, probably from Haitian Creole: voodoo priestess
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 mambo

popular dance (like the rhumba but livelier), September 1948, from American Spanish mambo, said by Webster to be from Haitian creole word for "voodoo priestess."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper