[ruhm-buh, room-, room-]
noun, plural rumbas [ruhm-buhz, room-, room-] .
a dance, Cuban in origin and complex in rhythm.
an imitation or adaptation of this dance in the U.S.
music for this dance or in its rhythm.
verb (used without object), rumbaed [ruhm-buhd, room-, room-] , rumbaing [ruhm-buh-ing, room-, room-] .
to dance the rumba.
Also, rhumba.

1920–25; < American Spanish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rumba or rhumba (ˈrʌmbə, ˈrʊm-, ˈrʌmbə, ˈrʊm-)
1.  a rhythmic and syncopated Cuban dance in duple time
2.  a ballroom dance derived from this
3.  a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance
[C20: from Spanish: lavish display, of uncertain origin]
rhumba or rhumba
[C20: from Spanish: lavish display, of uncertain origin]

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

1922, from Cuban Sp., originally "spree, carousal," derived from Sp. rumbo "spree, party," earlier "ostentation, pomp, leadership," perhaps originally "the course of a ship," from rombo "rhombus," in reference to the compass, which is marked with a rhombus. The verb is recorded from 1944.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


ballroom dance of Afro-Cuban folk-dance origin that became internationally popular in the early 20th century. Best known for the dancers' subtle side to side hip movements with the torso erect, the rumba is danced with a basic pattern of two quick side steps and a slow forward step. Three steps are executed to each bar. The music, in 44 time, has an insistent syncopation.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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