• banjo
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n banjo a stringed instrument of the guitar family that has long neck and circular body
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The banjo is America's only true native musical instrument. It was first developed in the South in the 1790s.
    • n banjo A stringed musical instrument having a head and neck like the guitar, and a circular body like a tambourine. It has five strings, and is played with the fingers and hands.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n banjo A musical instrument of the guitar class, having a neck with or without frets. and a circular body covered in front with tightly stretched parchment, like a tambourine. It has from five to nine strings, of which the melody-string, the highest in pitch, but placed outside of the lowest of the others, is played by the thumb. As in the guitar, the pitch of the strings is fixed by stopping them with the left hand, while the right hand produces the tone by plucking or striking. It is a favorite instrument among the negroes of the southern United States, and is much used by other persons.
    • n banjo A banjo-frame (which see).
    • n banjo A form of automatic railway signaling-apparatus in which a flat circular disk, with an arm projecting from one side, is alternately exhibited in front of a glass opening in the signal-box and withdrawn from sight by the make and break of an electric circuit. The shape of the disk and its arm has suggested the name.
    • n banjo In mining, an iron frame for carrying a false clack.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Banjo ban′jo a musical instrument of the guitar kind, played with the fingers, but without frets to guide the stopping, having a long neck, a body of stretched parchment like a drum, and from five to nine catgut strings.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Formerly also banjore, and banjer,; corrupted from bandore, through negro slave pronunciation
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Corr. of Fr. bandore or pandore—L. pandura—Gr. pandoura.


In literature:

Through the silence which followed came the twanging notes of a banjo.
"The Love Story of Abner Stone" by Edwin Carlile Litsey
The banjo jangled discordant triumph over his fall.
"Heart of the Blue Ridge" by Waldron Baily
Jones continued to pick his banjo, while a boyish trooper with tough black hair sat near him and kept time with his heels.
"Red Men and White" by Owen Wister
Two of 'America's Leading Banjoists' charmed me next, for, after all, there is nothing like the banjo.
"Imaginary Interviews" by W. D. Howells
We would have candy pulls, from cooked molasses, and sing in the moonlight by the tune of an old banjo picker.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States, From Interviews with Former Slaves" by Work Projects Administration
That line was a rope, yet it sang like a banjo string.
"Tales of Fishes" by Zane Grey
He had a banjo and was good at music making.
"The Man the Martians Made" by Frank Belknap Long
Mr. Rudyard Kipling tells of an astonishing young lady who played the banjo.
"The Soul of a People" by H. Fielding
Coming from the darkness on board were the tinkling notes of a banjo and the subdued hum of voices.
"Submarine Warfare of To-day" by Charles W. Domville-Fife
The sound of revelry was going forward again in the saloon, the mechanical banjo plugging away on its tiresome tune.
"The Duke Of Chimney Butte" by G. W. Ogden

In poetry:

For him no more the cabin's quiet rest,
The homely joys that gave to labor zest;
No more for him the merry banjo's sound,
Nor trip of lightsome dances footing round.
"To The South" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The measure of our songs is our desires:
We tinkle where old poets used to storm.
We lack their substance tho' we keep their form:
We strum our banjo-strings and call them lyres.
"Prometheus" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
A banjo and a hymn are heard afar.
No solace on the lazy shore excels
The Duke's blue castle with its steamer-bells.
The floor is running water, and the roof
The stars' brocade with cloudy warp and woof.
"The Raft" by Vachel Lindsay
In a small and lonely cabin out of noisy traffic's way,
Sat an old man, bent and feeble, dusk of face, and hair of gray,
And beside him on the table, battered, old, and worn as he,
Lay a banjo, droning forth this reminiscent melody:
"The Voice Of The Banjo" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
But you have music in your shuffling feet,
And spirituals for a lenient Lord,
Who lets you sing your promises away.
You hold your sunny corner of the street,
And pluck deep beauty from a banjo chord:
Philosopher whose future is today!
"Modern philosopher" by DuBose Heyward
They went with axe and rifle, when the trail was still to blaze,
They went with wife and children, in the prairie-schooner days,
With banjo and with frying pan—Susanna, don't you cry!
For I'm off to California to get rich out there or die!
"Western Wagons" by Stephen Vincent Benet

In news:

With the help of her banjo, Courtney Welbon turns William Shakespeare's dark 'To Be or Not to Be soliloquy from 'Hamlet' into a jaunty little country number.
Chick Corea and Béla Fleck, masters of the keyboard and banjo, respectively, with 33 Grammys between them, are reuniting for a new tour of duets that'll make a stop at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts' Uihlein Hall on April 2.
Banjos, bones and the Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Sheldon Concert Hall, Friday, November 16 Featured.
Fleck himself, a virtuoso on the banjo, was a dazzling performer, especially in the concerto 's third and final movement, where the banjo was permitted free rein in a series of intricate solos reminiscent of Baroque toccatas.
What is the difference between a banjo and an onion.
 The Banjo strikes winning note with readers.
Ketch & Critter will take the stage at 8 pm Saturday during Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que Bluegrass Festival.
The Devil Makes Three is an eclectic band from Santa Cruz, Calif The folk-punk band consists of guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, on guitar and on banjo there is Cooper McBean.
Move over, "Dueling Banjos," to make way for the first California Banjo Extravaganza .
Toss on the washboard-scrubbing, banjo-shucking, fiddle-sawing tunes of the Spirit Family Reunion and you have no idea when or where this music is made.
With a banjo strapped over his shoulder, Mount Penn resident Steve Dibler came to Lyons Community Park on Sunday to make some music.
The Gawlers, a fun-loving, folk-singing, banjo-playing, contra-calling family of five from Belgrade, will perform Saturday, Nov 24, at Cumston Hall in Monmouth.
There's a bumper sticker you may have seen that reads "Paddle faster, I hear banjo music".
With the help of her banjo, Courtney Welbon turns William Shakespeare's dark 'To Be or Not to Be soliloquy from ' Hamlet ' into a jaunty little country number.
Today, Morris and a partner create handcrafted instruments called banjo ukuleles, or banjo ukes.

In science:

Plucking is normally used in playing guitar, lute, harp, banjo, mandolin, either with a finger or by some type of plectrum.
Music in Terms of Science