Definition of rumba in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrʌmbə/
(also rhumba)


1A rhythmic dance with Spanish and African elements, originating in Cuba: to see an authentic rumba you must go to Havana
More example sentences
  • In the 1930s and '40s, the rumba, which originated in Cuba, became popular in America and Europe.
  • In the documentary Born to be Wild he dances a rhumba in the streets of his native Cuba.
  • The rumba - which originated in Africa - travelled from Zaire via the slave trade to Cuba and the New World, then back to Barcelona, where it was adopted by the gypsies.
1.1A piece of music for the rumba or in a similar style.
Example sentences
  • It sounds like a wild street party featuring a Latin percussion band whose bells, shakers, electric piano, and flute combine to create an infectious rumba groove.
  • The group will perform music from the new album, United We Stand, a flavoured sound that ranges in style from rumba to classic adaptations of old mbira rhythms.
  • Culturally, our riches extend far beyond the celebrated African- and Spanish-influenced rhythms of calypso, reggae, dancehall, salsa, rumba, merengue, or son.
1.2A ballroom dance imitative of the rumba: they glide around the dance floor doing the cha-cha, rumba, or waltz
More example sentences
  • Dances like the rumba and cha-cha are very sexy, and offer a great opportunity for a couple to learn to move together well.
  • The foxtrot is still danced every night of the week in hundreds of modern sequence dance clubs around the country, along with the waltz, quickstep, tango, rhumba, cha cha, jive, mambo, salsa, saunter, blues, swing and so on.
  • The waltz, foxtrot, tango and quickstep are danced in rapid-fire succession in each ballroom round while salsa steps up the beat to let Latin competitors loosen up a little and go through the paces of the rhumba, samba and cha cha.

verb (rumbas, rumbaing /ˈrʌmbə(r)ɪŋ/, rumbaed /ˈrʌmbəd/ or rumba'd)

[no object]
Dance the rumba: you once taught two boys to rumba
More example sentences
  • They've spun, tangoed, waltzed, rumbaed, salsaed, funked, jazzed, hip-hopped and twirled their little hearts out and now they're sashaying off into the sunset in an hour-long final.
  • The bagpipes were wailing and some Rotary types were trying to rumba to it.
  • See, my throat was so tight it probably sounded like I was asking him to rumba around the room with me.


1920s: from Latin American Spanish.

Words that rhyme with rumba

Columba, cumber, encumber, Humber, lumbar, lumber, number, outnumber, slumber, umber

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rumba

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