bamboo (n.) Look up bamboo at
type of giant grass common in the tropics, 1590s, from Dutch bamboe and/or Portuguese bambu, earlier mambu (16c.), probably from Malay (Austronesian) samambu, though some suspect this is itself an imported word, perhaps from Kanarese (Dravidian). Bamboo curtain in reference to communist China (based on iron curtain) is from 1949.