Meaning of banjo in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbandʒəʊ/

Translate banjo into Spanish

nounplural noun banjos, plural noun banjoes

  • 1A stringed instrument of the guitar family, with a round open-backed soundbox of parchment stretched over a metal hoop.

    ‘Baxter is probably best known as the ace pedal steel, banjo, dobro, guitar, all-'round musical utility guy for Bob Dylan, Steve Earle and Ryan Adams.’
    • ‘Strings, guitars, banjo, tambourine, French horn, harp, clarinet, accordion, drums and chanting contribute to Arcade Fire's intensely deep but totally palatable fusion of sounds.’
    • ‘Musically, the album isn't afraid of drawing on different instruments, from mouth organs to banjos, to acoustic guitars and piano.’
    • ‘And all these sepia-toned images are lent strength by the gentle poetry of the lyrics, and the light, front-porch swing of the acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins and strings.’
    • ‘An acoustic guitar, an occasional banjo, a cello, a violin are all elements found at the core of The Books' music.’
    • ‘Their huge array of instruments includes guitars, banjo, mandolin, bass, piano, organ, tabla and djembe, making this gig a must for all lovers of acoustic driven music.’
    • ‘These rooms are full of acoustic guitar, banjos, mandolins, twelve-strings, and maybe an acoustic bass or two.’
    • ‘He departs from convention in his cultivation of a deliberately rough sound, evoking mandolins, banjos, and guitars - in short, its surface.’
    • ‘In addition to playing the harmonica, he bends strings on acoustic slide guitar, banjo and an Indian instrument called the mohan veena.’
    • ‘Harry played an acoustic lap guitar, mohan veena, six-string banjo, harmonica, tambura and sang like a bird.’
    • ‘Over two albums, the Books have plucked sampled voices from their original context and arranged them inside simple compositions for sliced-and-diced guitar, banjo, and cello.’
    • ‘No drums or foot stomps, just rusty voice, guitar, banjo and the occasional synth sound.’
    • ‘The record is stuffed with two-part harmonies and country-lane textures - banjos, acoustic guitars and wood block percussion mix with piano, mellotron, and organ.’
    • ‘As the story of some rural drama unfurls, the track builds with more and more instruments fading in: low, swelling guitar chords, laconic banjos, mournful harmonies.’
    • ‘The main sounds that are obvious on this record are human voice, guitars, slide guitars, banjos, hurdy gurdies, and tuned drums that sound like djembes or tomtoms.’
    • ‘It screams quality, instantly being recognisable and totally addictive, with its soaring vocals and excellent guitars and banjos.’
    • ‘Most people, when they hear about the banjo and guitar, suspect it'll be pretty light.’
    • ‘But all bets are off for the bluegrass scorchers as the band breaks out the banjo and guitar.’
    • ‘The guitar and the banjo are what I do most of my writing on.’
    • ‘Now you too you can mimic a banjo or a slide guitar in your home or office.’
    1. 1.1An object resembling a banjo in shape.
      as modifier ‘a banjo clock’
      • ‘The variant of the Willard patent banjo clock shown in Plates IX and IXa is inscribed ‘DANIEL / MUNROE’ on the lower glass.’
      • ‘Dating from between about 1795 and 1800, it has a dial signed by David Wood of Newbusyport, Massachusetts, who also made tall-case and banjo clocks.’
      • ‘Positively sealed by O-rings, the banjo design allows 360 degrees rotation of the regular for ideal positioning.’
      • ‘The rotating banjo hose attachment allows the hose to rotate up to 270 degrees for optimal hose routing.’
    2. 1.2Australian, New Zealand dated A shovel.


    swing the banjo
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • Use a shovel, especially in a vigorous way.

      • ‘I hope to be swinging the banjo around some of those stony ridges’
      • ‘We spend a lot of time swinging the banjo, and only yesterday had to put in a new winze, following damage to our trenches from Beachy Bill.’
      • ‘It made no difference, and next morning he returned to swinging the banjo.’
      • ‘After swinging the banjo for eight hours, I sit down to write a few lines on what I think to be right.’


Mid 18th century originally a black American alteration of bandore (see bandora).