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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Dutch bamboe, from Portuguese bambu, from Malay bambu, from Kannada ಬಂಬು (bambu), variant form of ಬೇವು (bēvu). Cognate with Malayalam വേപ്പ് (vēppŭ), Telugu వేప (vēpa), from Proto-Dravidian *wēmpu (neem).



bamboo (countable and uncountable, plural bamboos)

  1. A fast-growing grass of the Bambusoideae subfamily, characterised by its woody, hollow, round, straight, jointed stem.
    • 2011, Ralph D. Sawyer, Ancient Chinese Warfare[1], Basic Books, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, →OL, page 490:
      However, the late Hsia and the Shang were considerably warmer, possibly comparable to Hang-chou today, an area where bamboo proliferates.
  2. (uncountable) The wood of the bamboo plant as a material for building, furniture, etc.
  3. (countable) A stick, rod, pole, or cane of bamboo, especially one used for corporal punishment.
  4. (slang) A didgeridoo.
  5. (slang) A member of the British military or British East India Company who spent so much time in Indonesia, India, or Malaysia that they never went back home.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Albanian: bambu
  • Finnish: bambu
  • Greek: μπαμπού (bampoú)
  • Guugu Yimidhirr: bambu
  • Russian: бамбу́к (bambúk) (or Dutch bamboe or French bambou) (see there for further descendants)
  • Welsh: bambŵ


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


bamboo (not comparable)

  1. Made of the wood of the bamboo.



bamboo (third-person singular simple present bamboos, present participle bambooing, simple past and past participle bambooed)

  1. (transitive) To flog with a bamboo cane.
    • 1880, Herbert Giles, transl., Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio[2], London: Thomas de la Rue & Co., Vol. II, p. 18, footnote:
      [] the beadle is punished by fine, and sometimes bambooed, if robberies are too frequent within his jurisdiction, or if he fails to secure the person of any malefactor particularly wanted by his superior officers.
  2. (transitive) To paint (furniture, etc.) to give it the appearance of bamboo.
    • 1994, Penny Swift, The Complete Book of Paint Techniques, New Holland, page 67:
      The craze for bambooing furniture and accessories was one of many popular paint techniques in the 18th century and early Victorian era.
  3. (India, slang) To penetrate sexually.
    • 2006, Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games[3], Penguin, published 2008:
      If you're just a girl from Lucknow, with no fluid cash, you'll be just one more among thousands going from producer to producer by auto-rickshaw, and every photographer who agrees to take a picture for your portfolio will want to introduce you to his bed upstairs in the loft. And what you'll get out of all this in the end is a lot of bambooing and maybe a dance or two in his videos.
    • 2013, Nandini Bhattacharya, chapter 5, in Hindi Cinema: Repeating the Subject, London: Routledge:
      One scene of attachment and intimacy shows Vijay careening into their shared apartment dead drunk and insulting a praying Ajay for his devotion to the household god, Hanuman [] , saying that instead of being rescued Ajay will be "bamboo-ed," a popular slang for anal penetration.




  1. didgeridoo




  1. crocodile