a wagon, usually large and ornately decorated, for carrying a musical band while it is playing, as in a circus parade or to a political rally.
a party, cause, movement, etc., that by its mass appeal or strength readily attracts many followers: After it became apparent that the incumbent would win, everyone decided to jump on the bandwagon.

1850–55, Americanism; band1 + wagon Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bandwagon (ˈbændˌwæɡən)
1.  (US) a wagon, usually high and brightly coloured, for carrying the band in a parade
2.  jump on the bandwagon, climb on the bandwagon, get on the bandwagon to join or give support to a party or movement that seems to be assured of success

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1855, Amer.Eng., from band (2) + wagon, originally a large wagon used to carry the band in a circus procession; as these also figured in celebrations of successful political campaigns, being on the bandwagon came to represent "attaching oneself to
anything that looks likely to succeed," a usage first attested 1899 in writings of Theodore Roosevelt.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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