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[juhm-boh] /ˈdʒʌm boʊ/ Informal.
noun, plural jumbos.
a very large person, animal, or thing.
U.S. Nautical.
  1. a forestaysail having a boom (jumbo boom) along its foot, used especially on schooners.
  2. a sail used in place of a course on a square-rigged ship, having the form of an isosceles triangle set apex downward.
  3. a narrow triangular sail set point downward in place of a foresail on a topsail schooner.
very large:
the jumbo box of cereal.
Origin of jumbo
1800-10; origin uncertain; popularized as the name of a large elephant purchased and exhibited by P.T. Barnum in 1882 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for jumbo
  • That's the equivalent of six jumbo jet crashes a day for an entire year.
  • From large through extra-large to jumbo, there's an orderly progression of prices, with a premium for color.
  • If there's aren't construction workers there buying jumbo coffees and maple bars, it's not a real donut shop.
  • But we're not going to criticize the penmanship involved in writing with a jumbo jet.
  • Few spectacles in nature are more riveting than a sea lion feasting on a jumbo salmon.
  • Yet some companies' supply chains have to cope with things that are a magnitude bigger still-such as building a jumbo jet.
  • In the meantime, other business trends seem to be pushing executives back into their jumbo jets.
  • So you produce a jumbo report and apologise for missing the delivery date by six months.
  • Although he's right that there have been a few private deals for jumbo mortgages, the market barely has a heartbeat.
  • And in some ways, people with those jumbo mortgages are less able to adjust in crisis.
British Dictionary definitions for jumbo


noun (pl) -bos
  1. a very large person or thing
  2. (as modifier): a jumbo box of detergent
See jumbo jet
Word Origin
C19: after the name of a famous elephant exhibited by P. T. Barnum, from Swahili jumbe chief
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 jumbo

"very large, unusually large for its type," 1882, a reference to Jumbo, name of the London Zoo's huge elephant (acquired from France, said to have been captured as a baby in Abyssinia in 1861), sold February 1882 to U.S. circus showman P.T. Barnum amid great excitement in America and great outcry in England, both fanned by Barnum. The name is perhaps from slang jumbo "clumsy, unwieldy fellow" (1823), which itself is possibly from a word for "elephant" in a West African language (cf. Kongo nzamba).

"I tell you conscientiously that no idea of the immensity of the animal can be formed. It is a fact that he is simply beyond comparison. The largest elephants I ever saw are mere dwarfs by the side of Jumbo." [P.T. Barnum, interview, "Philadelphia Press," April 22, 1882]
As a product size, by 1886 (cigars). Jumbo jet attested by 1964.

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



Very large; gigantic; humongous: I had a jumbo portion

[1897+; fr the London Zoo's great elephant, sold in 1882 to P T Barnum; Jumbo is a version of the word for ''elephant'' in various West African languages, for example, Kongo nzamba]

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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