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

  • n. A musical instrument with a gourd resonator and a single steel wire stretched across a long pole or stick.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A musical instrument, consisting of a gourd (as resonator) and a single wire stretched along a pole, used in Brazil


Portuguese, from Kimbundu mbi-rimbau : mbi-, n. pref. + -rimbau, berimbau.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Portuguese. (Wiktionary)


  • The Brazilian martial art capoeira combines dance, music, high kicks and leg sweeps and is performed in a circle known as a roda, to the music of a single-stringed instrument called a berimbau and hand-claps.

    Week in Words

  • In these capoeira circles, at least one person plays a single-stringed instrument called a berimbau, and another beats on drums while the crowd chants and claps.

    Fighting the Fun Fight

  • Capoeira is performed in a roda, a circle formed by fellow capoeiristas, one of whom plays an instrument called the berimbau, which dictates the tempo.

    Gaea Times (by Simple Thoughts) Breaking News and incisive views 24/7

  • Though he says, it's possible to construct a berimbau yourself.

    Fighting the Fun Fight

  • After a few months of training, he decided he wanted to his own berimbau, the one-stringed instrument central to the music of capoeira.

    Fighting the Fun Fight

  • In another case, the driver had a homemade berimbau in the passenger seat which launched a lively discussion of musical instruments.

    Why does San Francisco have such great Cabbies?

  • I also own a stylophone, a berimbau and a zither, none of which I can play convincingly.

    Friday Open Thread

  • In Angola, the heart of the capoeira, is berimbau, a local instrument made of a calibache (ph) with a vibrating string.

    CNN Transcript Aug 31, 2003

  • A South American berimbau, a set of golden vibes, a crisp, prewar Martin guitar.

    A Maiden's Grave

  • The Dancing Sorceror features Airto on berimbau and Zakir on tabla and madal.

    The Dancing Sorceror

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Gunga é meu, gunga é meu
    Gunga é meu, foi papai que me deu
    Gunga é meu, gunga é meu
    Gunga é meu eu não dou a ninguem

    October 12, 2007