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[bong-goh, bawng-] /ˈbɒŋ goʊ, ˈbɔŋ-/
noun, plural bongos, bongoes.
one of a pair of small tuned drums, played by beating with the fingers.
Also called bongo drum.
1915-20, Americanism; < American Spanish bongó
Related forms
bongoist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for bongo drum


noun (pl) -go, -gos
a rare spiral-horned antelope, Boocercus (or Taurotragus) eurycerus, inhabiting forests of central Africa. The coat is bright red-brown with narrow cream stripes
Word Origin
of African origin


noun (pl) -gos, -goes
a small bucket-shaped drum, usually one of a pair, played by beating with the fingers
Word Origin
American Spanish, probably of imitative origin


Omar. original name Albert Bernard Bongo. 1935–2009, Gabonese statesman; president of Gabon (1967–2009)
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 bongo drum



1920, from American Spanish (West Indies, especially Cuba), from a word of West African origin, cf. Lokele (Zaire) boungu.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bongo drum



Drunk (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for bongo drum

pair of small single-headed Afro-Cuban drums. The two heads, which are respectively about 5 inches (13 cm) and about 7 inches (18 cm) across, are nailed or rod-tensioned to wooden, open-ended "shells" of the same height. Played with the hands and fingers, the drums are yoked together to help the performer execute lively rhythmic dialogues. Bongo drums were created about 1900 in Cuba for Latin American dance bands. Other Cuban folk drums are also called bongos.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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