• synonyms


[sam-buh, sahm-]
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noun, plural sam·bas.
  1. a rhythmic, Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin.
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verb (used without object), sam·baed, sam·ba·ing.
  1. to dance the samba.
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Origin of samba

First recorded in 1880–85, samba is from the Portuguese word samba, alleged to be of African orig.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for samba

disco, waltz, rock, samba, tango, tap, skip, jump, shimmy, trip, caper, jig, leap, hop, frolic, sway, cavort, hustle, whirl, strut

Examples from the Web for samba

Contemporary Examples of samba

Historical Examples of samba

  • The years passed away, and Samba had become a tall and strong youth.

  • Samba lang tung pagkaigúa, It was pure luck that you hit it.

  • Samba had but to stretch out his hand to make prisoners of what he chose.


    Herbert Strang

  • One and all, the children of Banonga were deft with their fingers, and none so deft as Samba.


    Herbert Strang

  • Samba made no resistance when Nando lifted him and carried him to the centre of the clearing.


    Herbert Strang

British Dictionary definitions for samba


noun plural -bas
  1. a lively modern ballroom dance from Brazil in bouncy duple time
  2. a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance
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verb -bas, -baing or -baed
  1. (intr) to perform such a dance
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Word Origin for samba

Portuguese, of 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 samba


Brazilian dance of African origin, 1885, Zemba, from Portuguese samba, shortened form of zambacueca, a type of dance, probably altered (by influence of zamacueco "stupid") from zambapalo, the name of a grotesque dance, itself an alteration of zampapalo "stupid man," from zamparse "to bump, crash." As a verb from 1949.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper