Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large, forest-dwelling antelope (Boocercus eurycerus) of central Africa, having a reddish-brown coat with white stripes and spirally twisted horns.
  • n. One of a pair of connected tuned drums that are played by beating with the hands.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A striped bovine mammal found in Africa, Tragelaphus eurycerus.
  • n. One of a pair of small drums of Cuban origin, played by beating with the hands.
  • v. To play the bongo
  • v. To beat with an irregular rhythm
  • v. To hit something rhythmically with the hands.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Either of two large antelopes (Boöcercus eurycercus of West Africa, and Boöcercus isaaci of East Africa) of a reddish or chestnut-brown color with narrow white stripes on the body. Their flesh is especially esteemed as food.
  • n. Either of two large antelopes (Boöcercus eurycercus of West Africa, and Boöcercus isaaci of East Africa) of a reddish or chestnut-brown color with narrow white stripes on the body. Their flesh is especially esteemed as food.
  • n. one of a pair of attached small drums, each tuned to a different pitch, played by striking with the hands.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small drum; played with the hands
  • n. large forest antelope of central Africa having a reddish-brown coat with white stripes and spiral horns

Etymologies

Probably of Bantu origin; akin to Lingala mongu, antelope.
American Spanish bongó, probably of West African origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From American Spanish bongó. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Edison took the stage second, and, calling a bongo player from the crowd, read one of his classic tales of pot and porn in traditional Beatnik fashion.

    Literary Death Match

  • I discovered there's an animal called a bongo the fact that I didn't know this stuns us all, and did I mention there were several tigers?

    updated progress

  • Tanzania's nickname is "bongo," which means clever, and they'll need all the intelligence they can muster.

    CNN Transcript Mar 14, 2009

  • Other forest dwelling mammals include forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), and larger forest antelopes such as bongo (Tragelaphus euryceros) and sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekei).

    Northwestern Congolian lowland forests

  • Just -- the idea was to get these items -- a pull-up bar, some sandals, a camcorder, a hockey stick and street hockey balls, and then this kind of bongo board thing.

    CNN Transcript Dec 16, 2005

  • Rothschild had offered a thousand pounds for a "bongo," a huge grass-eating animal, which no white man had ever seen; and he had taken

    The Metropolis

  • To celebrate, Facebook is giving its 150 million-plus users a mystery virtual gift, such as bongo drums and beer.

    MacUser

  • The potential for cringe was immediately apparent when two 'bongo' drummers emerged to take up position at the front of the stage (surely bodhran players would have been more appropriate?) and nine Irish rugby 'models' emerged bashfully to a bizarre jungle beat.

    Independent.ie - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • Another school which received a certificate in excellence was South Oropouche Government Primary, whose dancers staged a phenomenal "bongo" dance.

    TrinidadExpress Today's News

  • UP HIGH: Pupils of the South Oropouche RC perform the "bongo" at the National Junior Arts Festival held at the Creative Arts Centre, San Fernando, yesterday.

    TrinidadExpress Today's News

Comments

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  • UK slang for porn.

    E.g. "I haven't seen Stuart in three days; he's in his room downloading bongo."

    October 9, 2008

  • "Rinderpest... at the turn of the twentieth century ravaged wildebeest, hartebeest, bongos, and other native African ungulates after jumping from Asian cattle."
    —Richard Stone, Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 2001), 201

    Update: Now (Nov. 9, 2010) declared eradicated, as seen here.

    September 22, 2008