Definition of conga in US English:



  • 1A Latin American dance of African origin, usually with several people in a single line, one behind the other.

    • ‘Inside the Big Swan Stadium, celebrating England fans danced a massive conga through the stands, carrying Japanese children on their shoulders.’
    • ‘We then dance the conga, party until we drop, and wake up in a world of health for all.’
    • ‘There's as much boogie-woogie in its movements as conga and tango.’
    • ‘They end with the him leading a conga around the crowded venue.’
    • ‘Then the band played ‘Road to Amarillo’ and the guests danced the conga through the hotel, and the men played rugby in their kilts at midnight.’
    • ‘Last week, 65 students danced the conga through the centre of town.’
    • ‘At 9.30 am, I find myself dancing the conga with 100 Ghanaian women.’
    • ‘I knew it was going to be a long day when I saw three penguins dancing the conga across the main reception hall.’
    • ‘The cadets do a Copacabana-style conga, and the cops do a wicked Irish dance parody - instantly recognizable.’
    • ‘Later they danced the conga and had an erotic dancer on stage.’
    • ‘Made in Manchester, finished in Liverpool - the next thing you know we will be doing a victory conga the length of the East Lancs Road!’
    • ‘This involves a series of rather complex situations (including the above mentioned conga and also an amazing illuminated bustier).’
  • 2A tall, narrow, low-toned drum beaten with the hands.

    • ‘Vocals, additional keyboards, congas (by someone credited only as Rocky) and the famous lead guitar line were added later.’
    • ‘But a couple of months ago, in a Times Square studio, congas were pounding out Afro-Cuban rhythms, dancers in high heels were twirling to fast-paced mambos, and just about everyone in sight was a shade of brown.’
    • ‘The primary musical instrument is the conga drum.’
    • ‘‘Maybe we'll have some congas and bongos, marimba and vibraphones, a bass drum, cow bells - perhaps a Chinese gong,’ she said, thoughtfully.’
    • ‘The band enters with congas and something of a samba-rock beat.’
    • ‘It's always performed by big bands, with trumpets, trombones and saxophones, sometimes with flutes, and always with Cuban percussion - the congas, bongos and timbales.’
    • ‘The beat continued to simmer as the volume was slowly increased with the addition of more guitar and drums, led by a man hitting two congas with a mallet.’
    • ‘At the same time - despite omnipresent congas - it isn't terribly exotic, and that's fine as spacing out may not have been the point.’
    • ‘You'll be dropped into the midst of a boozed-up street party with trumpets and congas.’
    • ‘Their instruments include a full drum set, surdo, or Brazilian bass drum, conga drums, bells and ganzas or shakers.’
    • ‘After a quiet intro where the interweaving trombone and sax establish the melancholy theme, the full band of drums, piano, congas, bass clarinet, trombone, and tenor sax aggressively joins in.’
    • ‘The horns front a rhythm section that includes three percussionists armed with congas and bata drums, with no piano or guitar in the middle to mediate.’
    • ‘The first one brings out the congas and growling bass line to underscore Kanamori's string of curses, both at regular speed and drastically slowed down for added queasiness.’
    • ‘Her traditional sokay sound comes from the harmonica and a conga drum known as a balah.’
    • ‘Armed with trumpets and congas, they keep things up-tempo, but this is an exception to the rule, and melancholy prevails.’
    • ‘Music-wise, it's me with an electric piano, small analog synth, drum machine, and vocoder with the occasional conga or harmonica add-in.’
    • ‘These three main patterns are amplified by turtle shells, claves, timbales, bongos, congas, maracas and tambourines.’
    • ‘While visiting New York to promote the track they saw a Samba band playing in Central Park - overcome with ‘Latin spirit’ they went out the next day and bought congas, bongos and whistles.’
    • ‘The line-up includes two violins, flute, keyboards, bass, timbale, congas and bongos with strong vocals and you'll need to dig out your salsa shoes because this gig is a legendary dance night at the arts centre.’
    • ‘Also pleasing to the ear was the harmony between the regular drum kit and the congas.’


[no object]
  • Dance the conga.

    • ‘But if he congas like that, he's going to spill his margarita.’
    • ‘At Middlesex University students intend to conga through afternoon lectures at its Tottenham campus.’
    • ‘In fact, redundant workers were so happy to leave the backbreaking tedium that they conga'd out of the factory, in spite of the scarcity of other work available in the Midlands.’
    • ‘I have to say there were quite a lot of comments about my dancing as we congaed through the clinic, when I say comments I suppose I mean jokes, apparently the people of Chainda had quite a lot to teach me when it came to shaking my booty!’
    • ‘The scene where he congas has to be seen to be believed.’
    • ‘The last time I was in Henley on election night was 1992 - I went to conga round the town square, but the presence of policemen rather put me off.’
    • ‘He sang to himself as he conga'd his way through the office.’
    • ‘There was nowhere to hide, but as they conga'd around the room, most of the audience didn't seem to care.’
    • ‘She was congaing with the kids, trying to get her friends to join in the fun (which they wouldn't do) and she conga'd all over the room with those kids.’


1930s: from Latin American Spanish, from Spanish, feminine of congo ‘Congolese’.