back·​beat ˈbak-ˌbēt How to pronounce backbeat (audio)
: a steady pronounced rhythm stressing the second and fourth beats of a four-beat measure

Examples of backbeat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Disappearances, of one kind or another, have become the backbeat of Chinese public life under Xi Jinping. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 But the result is something special, a danceable backbeat with vibes that are through the roof, which should find a home on plenty of dance floors even as the weather gets colder. Heran Mamo, Billboard, 28 Sep. 2023 Some people hear the birth of rock and roll in the nasty backbeat on records that Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells, and Little Walter, among others, made in Chicago for Chess Records, the storied indie label, in the nineteen-fifties. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 The other half of the rhythm is the backbeat and kick relationship, or the downbeat and the backbeat. Vulture, 16 Mar. 2022 The splashing of children in the irrigation canals and the sloshing of water jugs being carted home provided the backbeat of summer life. Alissa J. Rubin Bryan Denton, New York Times, 29 July 2023 All of this creates a thrumming, threatening backbeat to the story, and we’re certainly shown every contour of the crimes, too. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 July 2023 Church is, and has always been, the community’s backbeat. Alison Miller, Washington Post, 9 July 2023 And Rick Marotta, Jim Keltner, all these guys played very much in the pocket, a very lazy backbeat. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 16 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backbeat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of backbeat was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near backbeat

Cite this Entry

“Backbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


back·​beat -ˌbēt How to pronounce backbeat (audio)
: a steady pronounced rhythm stressing the second and fourth beats of a four-beat measure

More from Merriam-Webster on backbeat

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