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beat·​box ˈbēt-ˌbäks How to pronounce beatbox (audio)
plural beatboxes
: an electronic device that adds a backbeat, manipulates sounds, and mimics musical instruments
… loops and layers her voice and music with a beatbox, small keyboard/synth and a laptop …The Seattle (Washington) Times
: a person who vocally imitates percussion sounds : beatboxer
When we first started, I was the beatbox, Treach was the MC, and Kay Gee was the DJ.Vincent Brown, quoted in VIBE
… he layers many of the 15 songs here with his entirely voice-generated rhythm tracks, turning himself into what rappers call a human beatbox.George Varga
also : the performance of such a vocal imitation
… smashed the world record for the longest continuous
"… My friends there were performing on the downtown scene. One had a piece of spoken word and I said, 'I'll do this beatbox and dance next to it.' …" Jonny Woo, quoted at
often used before another noun
beatbox vocals
The event also will include entertainment by campus dancers, a cappella singers and a vocal beatbox performer. University of Chicago
Equally impressive was runner-up George Avakian who, during his beatbox performance, instructed viewers to "watch five sounds come out of one human's mouth"—simultaneously, mind you … Lara de Matos
This five-person professional a cappella singing group … transforms familiar pop, funk, Motown, standards, and Broadway songs with all-new vocal (and beatbox) arrangements. Kay Johnson
: boom box
On the other side of the pool, an American tourist put a cassette in his beatbox. (This was a time before iPods and the internet.)Martha Kearney


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beatboxed; beatboxing; beatboxes

intransitive verb

: to vocally imitate percussion sounds : to perform beatboxing
On top of that impressive instrumental work, he beatboxed! … How one can physically make those sounds, we might never know.Annabel Iwegbue
Lewis beatboxes into Time of the Season. He grabs an acoustic guitar and sings She Will Be Loved.Olivia Barker
[Ben] Broussard released a self-titled folk album late last year. But he's not confined to one genre. Says his former teammate, [Cincinnati] Reds infielder Brandon Phillips: "The dude can seriously beatbox. …"Buster Olney

Examples of beatbox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Designed to mimic the summer sleepaway camp of your youth (albeit with vastly fewer rules), the fall event will also feature nearly 50 activities including dodgeball, a .5km floaty race, tug-of-war, comedy and talent shows, a beatbox competition, spelling bee, bingo, deep house yoga and more. Katie Bain, Billboard, 9 June 2022 That meeting led to Biz Markie working as a human beatbox with artists MC Shan and Roxanne Shanté. Lisa Respers France and Andy Rose, CNN, 16 July 2021 To these performers, add the beatbox sound effects superman Chris Sullivan, and your dial is tuned to adoring. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2019 The current lineup consists of Veneziale, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Andrew Bancroft, the beatbox wiz Chris Sullivan (who goes by Shockwave), and, providing musical backup, Arthur Lewis and Bill Sherman—plus drop-ins by Miranda and others. Adam Green, Vogue, 10 Sep. 2019 Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal Watching Raul Lopez beatbox is like watching an entire song unfold in front of you. Laurel Deppen, The Courier-Journal, 8 Aug. 2019 The designs depict black men playing basketball, a couple dancing to a beatbox wearing traditional colonial garb, black women braiding each others’ hair, and girls playing double dutch. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, 12 June 2019 The pair traded beatbox recordings, notes, mood boards and sticky notes between day jobs and other commitments. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, 25 Oct. 2017 During Yuri Basho Lane's beatbox musical short Make Peace, a toddler adjacent to me stomped to the rhythm, her light-up sneaker soles pulsating flashes to the beat. Dan Jakes, Chicago Reader, 30 Aug. 2017
Channing Tatum can beatbox lullabies Less than a year after he was named 2012's Sexiest Man Alive, Tatum became a dad to daughter Everly, and according to his now-ex Jenna Dewan, The Lost City star used some undiscovered talents to pacify his crying infant. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023

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

Word History



beat entry 2 + box entry 1


derivative of beatbox entry 1

First Known Use


1982, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1988, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of beatbox was in 1982

Dictionary Entries Near beatbox

Cite this Entry

“Beatbox.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: an electronic device that adds a backbeat, manipulates sounds, and mimics musical instruments
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