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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The trees were now not the lesser growths of bamboo, lime and sago-palm that covered the foot-hills.

    The Jungle Girl Gordon Casserly
  • The framework is of bamboo, strengthened and held taut with wire guys.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • And sometimes it will come down to the ground to make a meal upon roots, or the young shoots of bamboo.

  • Within the room was a bed of bamboo, without covers or pillows.

  • That is, their houses are made of bamboo, which is a kind of giant grass.

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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