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

  • n. A decorated barbed dart that is thrust into the bull's neck or shoulder muscles by a banderillero in a bullfight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stick with a sharp end and a decorated end, which a bullfighter stick into the bull's back.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A barbed dart carrying a banderole which the banderillero thrusts into the neck or shoulder of the bull in a bullfight.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small dartlike javelin ornamented with a banderole, used in bull-fights to goad and infuriate the bull.

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

  • n. a decorated dart that is implanted in the neck or shoulders of the bull during a bull fight


Spanish, diminutive of bandera, banner, from Vulgar Latin *bandāria; see banner.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish banderilla equivalent to Spanish bander ("banner") + -illa (Wiktionary)


  • Sometimes firecrackers are ingeniously inserted, which go off when the banderilla is deftly fastened in the beast's quivering flesh.

    Six Months in Mexico

  • Ask for a "banderilla," a small skewer of spicy, pickled veggies. -

  • Ask for a "banderilla," a small skewer of spicy, pickled veggies

  • But William Brownfield is a smart guy and he was not going to waste an opportunity to put banderilla in the wounded Venezuelan bull.

    11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005

  • The important thing is to thrust the banderilla into her - forgive the bullfighting image - to see where the bull will lead us or, should I say, the young heifer.

    The Shadow of the Wind

  • Spain, was brilliant with the cape, fine with the banderilla and poetic with the muleta.


  • Cloaks were tossed to attendants, each footman received a red cape, the two _picadores_ took position one on either side of the bull pen gate, the band struck up a tune, the gate was opened and a great Utreran bull bounded into the arena, maddened with the pain of a short _banderilla_, with long streaming ribbons, stuck in his neck as he entered, by an attendant perched above the gate.

    The Red-Blooded Heroes of the Frontier

  • And so he awaited the charge until the bull was within actual arm's-reach, when with a swift rise from the chair and a turn of his body quick as that of a fencer's supple wrist, he bent and stuck the teeth-held banderilla in the bull's shoulder as he swept past.

    The Red-Blooded Heroes of the Frontier

  • Before the audience had well caught its breath, _El Tigre_, wearing again his usual costume, was striding again to the middle of the arena, carrying a light chair, in which presently he seated himself, facing the bull, a show _banderilla_, no more than six inches long, held in his teeth.

    The Red-Blooded Heroes of the Frontier

  • The folded papers fluttered again, reminding Grid of the ribbons on a banderilla, thrust into a bull's neck.

    Curtains for the editor


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