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Sambo Syllabification: Sam·bo
Pronunciation: /ˈsambō/

Definition of Sambo in English:

noun (plural Sambos)

1 offensive A black person.
Example sentences
  • Surveying labor history - with scabs branded ‘white Sambos’ and blacks called ‘smoked Irishmen ‘- Roediger imagines a post-racial political culture.’
  • One energetic white man, working with a will, would easily pick as much cotton as half a dozen Sambos and Sallies.
  • The religion practiced in the quarters gave the slaves the one thing they absolutely had to have if they were to resist being transformed into the Sambos they had been programmed to become.
2 (sambo) historical A person of mixed race, especially of black and Indian or black and European blood.
Example sentences
  • A ‘quarter-white’ was thus a sambo, a mulatto was ‘half white’, a quadroon was ‘three-quarters white’, and a mestizo was ‘seven-eighths white’.
  • Ron visited the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Michigan where he learned about the cultural significance of golliwogs and sambo dolls.
  • We'd get black, oily marks on our knees because it was a wrestling hall used by sambo wrestlers.


Early 18th century: Sambo (sense 1) perhaps from Fula sambo 'uncle'; Sambo (sense 2) from American Spanish zambo, denoting a kind of yellow monkey.

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