Definition of rubato
: a fluctuation of tempo within a musical phrase often against a rhythmically steady accompaniment
Origin of rubato
Italian, literally, robbed
First Known Use: circa 1883
Learn More about rubato
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about "rubato"
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up rubato? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).