We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


verb im·pro·vise \ˈim-prə-ˌvīz also ˌim-prə-ˈ\

: to speak or perform without preparation

: to make or create (something) by using whatever is available


Full Definition of IMPROVISE

transitive verb
:  to compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously
:  to make, invent, or arrange offhand
:  to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand <improvise a meal>
intransitive verb
:  to improvise something
im·pro·vis·er or im·pro·vi·sor \-ˌvī-zər, -ˈvī-\ noun

Examples of IMPROVISE

  1. If you forget any of your lines, try to improvise.
  2. Good jazz musicians know how to improvise.
  3. He had to improvise his opening speech when he forgot his notes.
  4. The trumpet player performed an improvised solo.
  5. I wasn't expecting guests, so I had to improvise a meal with what I had in my refrigerator.


French improviser, from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso sudden, from Latin improvisus, literally, unforeseen, from in- + provisus, past participle of providēre to see ahead — more at provide
First Known Use: 1826

Other Performing Arts Terms

diva, dramaturgy, loge, prestidigitation, proscenium, supernumerary, zany

Rhymes with IMPROVISE

advertise, agonize, alchemize, analyze, anglicize, anodize, anywise, aphorize, arborize, atomize, authorize, autolyze, balkanize, barbarize, bastardize, bestialize, bolshevize, booby prize, botanize, bowdlerize, brutalize, canalize, canonize, capsulize, caramelize, carbonize, cartelize, catalyze, catechize, cauterize, centralize, channelize, Christianize, cicatrize, circumcise, civilize, classicize, colonize, colorize, communize, compromise, concertize, concretize, creolize, criticize, customize, demonize, deputize, dialyze, digitize, disfranchise, dogmatize, dramatize, elegize, empathize, emphasize, energize, enfranchise, enterprise, equalize, erotize, eternize, etherize, eulogize, euphemize, exercise, exorcise, factorize, fantasize, federalize, feminize, fertilize, feudalize, fictionize, finalize, focalize, formalize, formulize, fossilize, fragmentize, fraternize, gallicize, galvanize, germanize, ghettoize, glamorize, globalize, gormandize, gothicize, gourmandize, grecianize, harmonize, heathenize, hebraize, hellenize, heroize, hierarchize, humanize, hybridize, hypnotize, idolize, immunize, iodize, ionize, ironize, Islamize, itemize, jeopardize, journalize, Judaize, laicize, latinize, legalize, lionize, liquidize, localize, magnetize, marbleize, martyrize, maximize, mechanize, melanize, melodize, memorize, merchandise, mesmerize, methodize, metricize, minimize, mobilize, modernize, moisturize, mongrelize, moralize, motorize, mythicize, narcotize, nasalize, nebulize, neutralize, normalize, notarize, novelize, obelize, odorize, optimize, organize, ostracize, otherwise, oversize, oxidize, paganize, palletize, paradise, paralyze, pasteurize, patronize, pauperize, penalize, penny-wise, personalize, pidginize, plasticize, Platonize, pluralize, pocket-size, poetize, polarize, polemize, pressurize, privatize, profitwise, prussianize, publicize, pulverize, racialize, randomize, rationalize, realize, recognize, rhapsodize, robotize, romanize, sanitize, satirize, scandalize, schematize, schismatize, scrutinize, sensitize, sermonize, signalize, simonize, sinicize, slenderize, sloganize, socialize, sodomize, solarize, solemnize, specialize, stabilize, Stalinize, standardize, sterilize, stigmatize, strategize, subsidize, summarize, supervise, syllogize, symbolize, sympathize, synchronize, syncretize, synopsize, synthesize, systemize, tantalize, televise, temporize, tenderize, terrorize, tetanize, teutonize, texturize, theorize, thermalize, totalize, tranquilize, traumatize, tyrannize, unionize, unitize, urbanize, utilize, valorize, vandalize, vaporize, verbalize, vernalize, victimize, vitalize, vocalize, vulcanize, vulgarize, weather-wise, weatherize, westernize, winterize, womanize, worldly-wise
IMPROVISED Defined for Kids


verb im·pro·vise \ˈim-prə-ˌvīz\

Definition of IMPROVISE for Kids

:  to speak or perform without preparing ahead of time <I improvised a song on the spot.>
:  to make, invent, or arrange by using whatever is available <… Cluny sat beneath an awning that had been improvised from the damaged tent. — Brian Jacques, Redwall>


Next Word in the Dictionary: improvision (noun)Previous Word in the Dictionary: improvisatriceAll Words Near: improvise
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears