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a musical instrument of the guitar family, having a circular body covered in front with tightly stretched parchment and played with the fingers or a plectrum.
Historical Examples

The banjoist is now being interviewed, and believes that the air he must have been performing at the time was “The Lost Chord.”
Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 99., November 29, 1890 Various

So he stared with all his might at the banjoist, who just then began another song.
Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on an Auto Tour Laura Lee Hope

I must not forget our banjoist, who of nights beguiled our careworn chief with cheery marches, quicksteps, and comic songs.
With Steyn and De Wet Philip Pienaar

noun (pl) -jos, -joes
a stringed musical instrument with a long neck (usually fretted) and a circular drumlike body overlaid with parchment, plucked with the fingers or a plectrum
(slang) any banjo-shaped object, esp a frying pan
(Austral & NZ, slang) a long-handled shovel with a wide blade
(modifier) banjo-shaped: a banjo clock

1764, American English, usually described as of African origin, probably akin to Bantu mbanza, an instrument resembling a banjo. The word has been influenced by colloquial pronunciation of bandore (1560s in English), a 16c. stringed instrument like a lute and an ancestor (musically and linguistically) of mandolin; from Portuguese bandurra, from Latin pandura, from Greek pandoura “three-stringed instrument.” The origin and influence might be the reverse of what is here described.

A stringed musical instrument, played by plucking (see strings). The banjo has a percussive sound and is much used in folk music and bluegrass music.


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