[ muh-rim-buh ]
/ məˈrɪm bə /


a musical instrument, originating in Africa but popularized and modified in Central America, consisting of a set of graduated wooden bars, often with resonators beneath to reinforce the sound, struck with mallets.


Nearby words

  1. marigraph,
  2. marihuana,
  3. marijuana,
  4. marikina,
  5. marilyn,
  6. marin,
  7. marin, john,
  8. marina,
  9. marinade,
  10. marinara

Origin of marimba

1695–1705; < Portuguese < Kimbundu or a related Bantu language; akin to kalimba Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marimba

British Dictionary definitions for marimba


/ (məˈrɪmbə) /


a Latin American percussion instrument consisting of a set of hardwood plates placed over tuned metal resonators, played with two soft-headed sticks in each hand

Word Origin for marimba

C18: of West African origin

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 marimba



1704, from an African language, probably Bantu (cf. Kimbundu and Swahili marimba, malimba, name of a xylophone-like instrument).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper