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[bam-boo] /bæmˈbu/
noun, plural bamboos.
any of the woody or treelike tropical and semitropical grasses of the genera Bambusa, Phyllostachys, Dendrocalamus, and allied genera, having woody, usually hollow stems with stalked blades and flowering only after years of growth.
the stem of such a plant, used as a building material and for making furniture, poles, etc.
Origin of bamboo
1590-1600; spelling variant of earlier bambu < Malay, apparently < Dravidian; compare Kannada bambu, bombu a large, hollow bam-boo (or directly < Dravidian); replacing bambus < Dutch bamboes; compare New Latin bambūsa Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bamboo
  • The unique pattern on the sheets is created when they are dried on bamboo trays.
  • The floors are reclaimed bamboo, and the workstations are made of a sustainable washed oak.
  • They were next door to each other, and they had virtually identical bamboo-and-wood decors.
  • Towering bamboo plants block any glimpse of what lies up above.
  • bamboo is being lashed together with colorful rope by a merry band of climbers.
  • Green tarps and bamboo scaffolding covered dozens of buildings.
  • Big and bamboo only begin to describe this remarkable construction.
  • These bamboo-covered slopes are home to the panda, its last refuge from a rapidly encroaching world.
  • People sat here and there in broken-backed kitchen chairs, sipping tea under the shade of bamboo and burlap.
  • He sometimes carried a bamboo cane in his right hand, which he leaned on as he walked.
British Dictionary definitions for bamboo


any tall treelike tropical or semitropical fast-growing grass of the genus Bambusa, having hollow woody-walled stems with ringed joints and edible young shoots (bamboo shoots)
the stem of any of these plants, used for building, poles, and furniture
any of various bamboo-like grasses of the genera Arundinaria, Phyllostachys or Dendrocalamus
(modifier) made of bamboo: a bamboo fence
Word Origin
C16: probably from Malay bambu
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
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Word Origin and History for bamboo

1590s, from Dutch bamboe, from Portuguese bambu, earlier mambu (16c.), probably from Malay samambu, though some suspect this is itself an imported word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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