Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

improvise

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

Simple Definition of improvise

  • : to speak or perform without preparation

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of improvise

improvisedimprovising

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously

  3. 2 :  to make, invent, or arrange offhand

  4. 3 :  to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand <improvise a meal>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to improvise something

improviser or improvisor play \-ˌvī-zər, -ˈvī-\ noun

Examples of improvise in a sentence

  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.



Origin of improvise

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

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


IMPROVISE Defined for Kids

improvise

play
verb im·pro·vise \ˈim-prə-ˌvīz\

Definition of improvise for Students

improvisedimprovising

  1. 1 :  to speak or perform without preparing ahead of time <I improvised a song on the spot.>

  2. 2 :  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>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up improvise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by grandiloquent style

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce perplex soothe disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ