Etymology
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tambourine (n.)
1782, in the modern sense of "parchment-covered hoop with pieces of metal attached;" earlier "a small drum" (1570s), from French tambourin "long narrow drum used in Provence," diminutive of tambour "drum," altered by influence of Arabic tunbur "lute," from Old French tabour (see tabor).

The sense evolutions present some difficulties, and in some 17c. and early 18c. references it is difficult to say what sort of instrument is intended. Earlier names for this type of instrument were tambour de basque (1680s), also timbre and timbrel. Tambour itself is attested in English from late 15c., and Shakespeare has tabourine.
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tabor (n.)
also tabour, "small drum resembling a tamborine," c. 1300, from Old French tabour, tabur "drum; din, noise, commotion" (11c.), probably from Persian tabir "drum," but evolution of sense and form are uncertain; compare tambourine.
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tympanum (n.)
"drum of the ear," 1610s, from Medieval Latin tympanum, introduced in this sense by Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio (1523-1562), from Latin tympanum "a drum, timbrel, tambourine," from Greek tympanon "a kettledrum," from root of typtein "to beat, strike" (see type (n.)). Compare Old English timpan "drum, timbrel, tambourine," from Latin tympanum. The modern meaning "a drum" is attested in English from 1670s.
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jingle (n.)
"tinkling or clinging sound," such as made by small bells, 1590s, from jingle (v.). Meaning "something that jingles" is from 1610s, especially "metallic disc on a tambourine." Meaning "song in an advertisement" first attested 1930, from earlier sense of "catchy array of words in prose or verse" (1640s).
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banjo (n.)
"guitar-like musical instrument with a circular body covered in front with stretched parchment, like a tambourine," 1764, in various spellings (Thomas Jefferson has banjar), American English, usually described as of African origin, probably akin to Bantu mbanza, name of an instrument resembling a banjo. The word has been influenced by colloquial pronunciation of bandore (1560s in English), a 16c. lute-like stringed instrument, from Portuguese bandurra, from Latin pandura (see mandolin). The origin and the influence might be the reverse of what is here described. Related: Banjoist. The banjo-clock (1891) was so called for its shape.
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rhomb (n.)

geometric figure, "oblique-angled equilateral parallelogram," 1570s, from French rhombe, from Latin rhombus "a magician's circle," also a kind of fish, which in Late Latin took on also the geometric sense. This is from Greek rhombos "circular movement, spinning motion; spinning-top; magic wheel used by sorcerers; tambourine;" also "a geometrical rhomb," also the name of a flatfish.

Watkins has this from rhembesthai "to spin, whirl," from PIE *wrembh-, from *werbh- "to turn, twist, bend" (source also of Old English weorpan "to throw away"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend" (see versus). But Beekes connects rhombos to rhembomai "to go about, wander, roam about, act random," despite this being attested "much later," a word of no clear etymology.

In general use in reference to any lozenge-shaped object. Related: Rhombic.

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minstrel (n.)

c. 1200, "a servant, a functionary;" c. 1300, "instrumental musician, singer or storyteller;" from Old French menestrel "entertainer, poet, musician; servant, workman;" also "a good-for-nothing, a rogue," from Medieval Latin ministralis "servant, jester, singer," from Late Latin ministerialem (nominative ministerialis) "imperial household officer, one having an official duty," from ministerialis (adj.) "ministerial," from Latin ministerium (see ministry). The connecting notion to entertainers is the jester, musician, etc., as a court position.

Specific sense of "musician" developed in Old French, and the Norman conquest introduced the class into England, where they assimilated with the native gleemen. But in English from late 14c. to 16c. the word was used of anyone (singers, storytellers, jugglers, buffoons) whose profession was to entertain patrons. Their social importance and reputation in England deteriorated and by Elizabethan times they were ranked as a public nuisance. Only in 18c. English was the word limited, in a historical sense, to "medieval singer of heroic or lyric poetry who accompanied himself on a stringed instrument." Compare troubadour, jongleur.

By 1843 in American English in reference to a class of singers of "Negro melodies" and delineators of "plantation life," usually white men in blackface (burnt cork). The act itself dates to c. 1830.

The characteristic feature of such a troupe or band is the middle-man or interlocutor, who leads talk and gives the cues, and the two end-men, who usually perform on the tambourine and the bones, and between whom the indispensable conundrums and jokes are exchanged. As now constituted, a negro-minstrel troupe retains but little of its original character except the black faces and the old jokes. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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