Definition of tambourine in English:



  • A percussion instrument resembling a shallow drum with metal discs in slots around the edge, played by being shaken or hit with the hand.

    • ‘They brought their tambourines, harmonicas, and were playing along.’
    • ‘Other instruments used in folk music include transverse and vertical flutes, drums, cymbals, gongs, and tambourines.’
    • ‘The Turks made their dawn prayers and then advanced with castanets, tambourines, cymbals and terrifying war cries.’
    • ‘Percussion is composed of sleigh bells, tambourine, xylophone and kettle drums.’
    • ‘Often nights we'd be up until after midnight with guitars, tambourines and drumming, sitting in the rainforest in our owner-built homes playing away.’
    • ‘I play guitar, bass drum, a tambourine on my foot and a snare drum.’
    • ‘Instead, the record reveals the true force of his songs: bouncy, repetitive chamber pop nuggets, gilt with glockenspiels, tambourines and evocative sacred-sexual imagery.’
    • ‘They concluded the set properly by inviting two audience members to grace the stage to shake a pair of tambourines and their booties as well.’
    • ‘Three chords, the right amount of carelessness in the attitude and those irresistible tambourines with the drums make them deserved hit singles.’
    • ‘We were given drums, triangles, maracas and tambourines to experiment with.’
    • ‘They were greeted by staff playing all manner of musical instruments from tambourines to recorders and the less musically gifted banging pots and pans.’
    • ‘This page is great for inspiration as it suggests ways of making a tambourine, drum, chimes, horn, cymbals, xylophone, guitar, comb buzzer and hand bells.’
    • ‘Some looked like variants of things I recognized; there were string instruments like lutes or small guitars, there were drums, chimes, tambourines.’
    • ‘I then used it to record additional percussion, including tambourine, djembe, shaker and bass drum.’
    • ‘He seemed more at home with the crowd when he came up front to sing a couple of songs with his tambourine.’
    • ‘Yet we knew from the happy-clappy Sunday services that they were comfortable with guitars and tambourines.’
    • ‘Every song they present is a staggering collage of guitars and drums, bells, tambourines, brass, and every other manner of beep or squeak under the sun, all falling in line in lush, swaying arrangements.’
    • ‘Musical groups danced the samba all the way, beating bongo drums and shaking tambourines.’
    • ‘The primary instruments are the viola (a plucked, metal stringed instrument), tambourine, and caixa (a type of drum).’
    • ‘The angels are playing a collection of musical instruments, including the harp, tambourine, cymbals, lyre and psaltery.’


Late 16th century: from French tambourin (see tambourin).