a thin, flat strip of some material for binding, confining, trimming, protecting, etc.:
a band on each bunch of watercress.
a fillet, belt, or strap:
a band for the hair; a band for connecting pulleys.
a stripe, as of color or decorative work.
a strip of paper or other material serving as a label:
a cigar band.
a plain or simply styled ring, without mounted gems or the like:
a thin gold band on his finger.
(on a long-playing phonograph record) one of a set of grooves in which sound has been recorded, separated from an adjacent set or sets by grooves without recorded sound.
bands, Geneva bands.
a flat collar commonly worn by men and women in the 17th century in western Europe.
Also called frequency band, wave band. Radio and Television. a specific range of frequencies, especially a set of radio frequencies, as HF, VHF, and UHF.
Also called energy band. Physics. a closely spaced group of energy levels of electrons in a solid.
Computers. one or more tracks or channels on a magnetic drum.
Dentistry. a strip of thin metal encircling a tooth, usually for anchoring an orthodontic apparatus.
Anatomy, Zoology. a ribbonlike or cordlike structure encircling, binding, or connecting a part or parts.
(in handbound books) one of several cords of hemp or flax handsewn across the back of the collated signatures of a book to provide added strength.
to mark, decorate, or furnish with a band or bands.
Historical Examples

During the last two years ex-constable bander had announced the selling “hout” of the Beacon every Tuesday evening.
The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman

Mr. Baranoff, the governor, went to Sitcha at the same time, leaving Mr. bander in charge of the colony.
A Voyage Round the World, from 1806 to 1812 Archibald Campbell

a company of people having a common purpose; group: a band of outlaws
a group of musicians playing either brass and percussion instruments only (brass band) or brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments (concert band or military band)
a group of musicians who play popular music, jazz, etc, often for dancing
a group of instrumentalists generally; orchestra
(Canadian) a formally recognized group of Canadian Indians on a reserve
(anthropol) a division of a tribe; a family group or camp group
(US & Canadian) a flock or herd
(usually foll by together) to unite; assemble
a thin flat strip of some material, used esp to encircle objects and hold them together: a rubber band

a strip of fabric or other material used as an ornament or distinguishing mark, or to reinforce clothing
(in combination): waistband, hairband, hatband

a stripe of contrasting colour or texture See also chromosome band
a driving belt in machinery
a range of values that are close or related in number, degree, or quality

(physics) a range of frequencies or wavelengths between two limits
(radio) such a range allocated to a particular broadcasting station or service

short for energy band
(computing) one or more tracks on a magnetic disk or drum
(anatomy) any structure resembling a ribbon or cord that connects, encircles, or binds different parts
the cords to which the folded sheets of a book are sewn
a thin layer or seam of ore
(architect) a strip of flat panelling, such as a fascia or plinth, usually attached to a wall
a large white collar, sometimes edged with lace, worn in the 17th century
either of a pair of hanging extensions of the collar, forming part of academic, legal, or (formerly) clerical dress
a ring for the finger (esp in phrases such as wedding band, band of gold, etc)
verb (transitive)
to fasten or mark with a band
(US & Canadian) to ring (a bird) See ring1 (sense 22)
an archaic word for bond (sense 1), bond (sense 3), bond (sense 4)

“a flat strip,” also “something that binds,” a merger of two words, ultimately from the same source. In the sense “that by which someone or something is bound,” it is attested from early 12c., from Old Norse band “thin strip that ties or constrains,” from Proto-Germanic *bindan, from PIE *bendh- “to bind” (cf. Gothic bandi “that which binds; Sanskrit bandhah “a tying, bandage,” source of bandana; Middle Irish bainna “bracelet;” see bend (v.), bind (v.)). Most of the figurative senses of this word have passed into bond (n.), which originally was a phonetic variant of this band.

The meaning “a flat strip” (late 14c.) is from Old French bande “strip, edge, side,” via Old North French bende, from Old High German binda, from Proto-Germanic *bindan (see above). In Middle English, this was distinguished by the spelling bande, but since the loss of the final -e the words have fully merged. Meaning “broad stripe of color” is from late 15c.; the electronics sense of “range of frequencies or wavelengths” is from 1922. The Old North French form was retained in heraldic bend. Band saw is recorded from 1864.

“an organized group,” late 15c., from Middle French bande, which is traceable to the Proto-Germanic root of band (n.1), probably via a band of cloth worn as a mark of identification by a group of soldiers or others (cf. Gothic bandwa “a sign”). The extension to “group of musicians” is c.1660, originally musicians attached to a regiment of the army. To beat the band (1897) is to make enough noise to drown it out, hence to exceed everything.

1520s, “to bind or fasten;” also “to join in a company,” from band (n.1) and (n.2) in various noun senses, and partly from French bander. The meaning “to affix an ID band to (a wild animal, etc.)” is attested from 1914. Related: Banded; banding.

band (bānd)

An appliance or a part of an apparatus that encircles or binds a part of the body.

A cordlike tissue that connects or that holds bodily structures together.

A chromatically, structurally, or functionally differentiated strip or stripe in or on an organism.

A specific range of electromagnetic wavelengths or frequencies, as those used in radio broadcasting.

Related Terms

big band, to beat the band

on the bandwagon
to beat the band


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