noun, plural banjos, banjoes.
a musical instrument of the guitar family, having a circular body covered in front with tightly stretched parchment and played with the fingers or a plectrum.

1730–40; compare Jamaican English banja, bonjour, bangil, Brazilian Portuguese banza; probably of African orig.; compare Kimbundu mbanza a plucked string instrument

banjoist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
banjo (ˈbændʒəʊ)
n , pl -jos, -joes
1.  a stringed musical instrument with a long neck (usually fretted) and a circular drumlike body overlaid with parchment, plucked with the fingers or a plectrum
2.  slang any banjo-shaped object, esp a frying pan
3.  slang (Austral), (NZ) a long-handled shovel with a wide blade
4.  (modifier) banjo-shaped: a banjo clock
[C18: variant (US Southern pronunciation) of bandore]

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

1764, Amer.Eng., usually described as of African origin, probably akin to Bantu mbanza, an instrument resembling a banjo. The word has been influenced by colloquial pronunciation of bandore (1560s in English), a 16c. stringed instrument like a lute and an ancestor (musically and linguistically) of mandolin;
from Port. bandurra, from L. pandura, from Gk. pandoura "three-stringed instrument." The origin and influence might be the reverse of what is here described.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

banjo definition

A stringed musical instrument, played by plucking (see strings). The banjo has a percussive sound and is much used in folk music and bluegrass music.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
He learned to play the banjo, and threw that out of the window instead.
Jarrell learned the way practically every other fiddler and banjo player did-by ear, at the knee of older musicians.
Members of the band play the fiddle and banjo in various styles, a key to the age of the tunes.
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