Definition of maracas in US English:

maracas

plural noun

  • A pair of hollow clublike gourd or gourd-shaped containers filled with beans, pebbles, or similar objects, shaken as a percussion instrument.

    • ‘He jumps up on the riser, picks up a pair of maracas and gets them to double the tempo!’
    • ‘Nearby, a pair of high-school girls shook wired maracas, precisely mimicking a pair of maraca-shaking characters on a video screen.’
    • ‘Larger bands have trumpets and strings as well as extensive percussion sections in which maracas, guiros, and bongos are primary instruments.’
    • ‘Bonus points awarded to the band for having a guy named Iggi Sniff playing tambourine and maracas; double bonus points to Mr. Sniff for getting a gig playing tambourine and maracas.’
    • ‘The clack and tip tap of the dancers heeled shoes echoed in short rhythmic steps to the time of the varied instruments: seeded maracas and strings of hand made guitars, violins, flutes and drums.’
    • ‘‘White Moon’ is a slow piano paean, stinging with maracas, moonlight-sonata piano, and subtle drums.’
    • ‘In sharp contrast - and contrasts define the album - marimba, piano and maracas set up a sepia-tone backdrop for track two, ‘The Nurse’.’
    • ‘Some of today's Grenadian American calypso bands also use electric guitars, maracas, and steel drums.’
    • ‘The band's sound was driven by the four-strong marimba/drum section, which was augmented by bass guitar, saxophone, maracas and two electric guitars - one rhythm, the other lead.’
    • ‘The men in sombreros were miked and amped and they were shaking maracas and playing guitar.’
    • ‘These three main patterns are amplified by turtle shells, claves, timbales, bongos, congas, maracas and tambourines.’
    • ‘But any concert that features mock sadomasochism, skull-shaped maracas and an accordion player wearing tinted goggles is either the work of lunatics or of a band with a very healthy sense of irony indeed.’
    • ‘One morning the youngest children shook maracas, banged small cymbals, and danced and skipped to international music in a room lined with colorful banners and maps.’
    • ‘Throughout the song, we hear tinkling piano, barely-tapped chimes and sporadic maracas.’
    • ‘And despite a lack of any real visual element to their performance (apart from when the guitarist downs tools for a bit to hit some maracas with a stick) they are never dull.’
    • ‘There have also been a number of instrument peripherals, from maracas and guitars to turntables.’
    • ‘That zone now belongs to the hordes of zealots invited there personally to take up maracas and other such percussion.’
    • ‘He recalled that he'd flown the coup, aged 17, and learned to play the maracas, harmonica and guitar.’
    • ‘We were given drums, triangles, maracas and tambourines to experiment with.’
    • ‘Its instruments include maracas, drums, and turtle shells.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from Portuguese maracá, from Tupi.

Pronunciation

maracas

/məˈrɑkəz//məˈräkəz/