[ sam-buh, sahm- ]
/ ˈsæm bə, ˈsɑm- /

noun, plural sam·bas.

a rhythmic, Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin.

verb (used without object), sam·baed, sam·ba·ing.

to dance the samba.

Origin of samba

First recorded in 1880–85, samba is from the Portuguese word samba, alleged to be of African orig. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for samba

British Dictionary definitions for samba


/ (ˈsæmbə) /

noun plural -bas

a lively modern ballroom dance from Brazil in bouncy duple time
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance

verb -bas, -baing or -baed

(intr) to perform such a dance

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper