downbeat

noun
down·​beat | \ˈdau̇n-ˌbēt \

Definition of downbeat 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the downward stroke of a conductor indicating the principally accented note of a measure of music also : the first beat of a measure

2 : a decline in activity or prosperity

downbeat

adjective

Definition of downbeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: pessimistic, gloomy a downbeat assessment

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Synonyms & Antonyms for downbeat

Synonyms: Adjective

bearish, defeatist, despairing, hopeless, pessimistic

Antonyms: Adjective

hopeful, optimistic, rose-colored, rosy, upbeat

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Examples of downbeat in a Sentence

Adjective

a downbeat prediction for the company's sales performance in the upcoming year

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here Weiss’ florid pianism, drummer Fludas’ fat downbeats and bassist Vinsel’s sizable tone made for the most vivid statement of the show. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Pianist Michael Weiss evokes memories of Johnny Griffin," 22 June 2018 Three minutes before downbeat at Unitas’s final rehearsal at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts earlier this month, the conductor was informed that the entertainment license for the evening had been revoked. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, "Ensemble dedicated to Latin American composers builds musical bridges in Boston," 25 May 2018 Over a resonant downbeat, Abel Tesfaye makes good use of his signature falsetto. Raisa Bruner, Time, "5 Songs You Need to Listen to This Week," 2 Feb. 2018 The drums take Bonham-doffing downbeats and turnarounds without remorse, across the huge six-and-a-half-minute song. Anna Tingley, Billboard, "Queens of the Stone Age Debut New 'Villains' Single 'The Evil Has Landed': Listen," 10 Aug. 2017 In a video posted by the Kensington Palace Twitter account, Princess Kate can be seen giving strong downbeats for the world-famous opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Yvonne Juris, PEOPLE.com, "Kate, the Conductor! Watch the Royal Lead the Hamburg Philharmonic as the European Tour Comes to a Close," 21 July 2017 Saturday mornings will feature No Soul Train—a dance show that highlights white people’s blatant disregard for downbeats. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Cops Release Bodycam Footage of White Privilege Gone Wild After Woman Claims Sexual Assault," 17 July 2017 From the concert’s opening downbeat, Sorrell was a very engaging conductor, gracefully offering clear direction yet eschewing a rigid allegiance to structure in favor of a free and passionate feel. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Classical-music review: Sorrell, SPCO have a baroque blast together," 7 Apr. 2017 Later, ethereal notes in the chorus are punctuated by firm string downbeats, like exhalations, that build to loud grandeur, then immediately recede, before a swirling, swinging climax driven on by an undercurrent of ba-bum heartbeat rhythm. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: Philharmonic Goes Dada With Esa-Pekka Salonen’s ‘Karawane’," 18 Mar. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But Xia is far from downbeat: an aura of triumph beams all over him. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "'I Hate It.' Double-Amputee Climber Xia Boyu Vows Never to Return to Everest," 14 June 2018 Adding to the day’s downbeat economic news, the Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its nonmanufacturing index slipped for the third straight month in April, falling to 56.8 from 58.8 in March. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "Treasurys Strengthen Following Soft Eurozone Inflation Data," 3 May 2018 But Americans are not all downbeat; positive ratings of the U.S. economy are at the highest levels in more than a decade, and a growing share says the country’s best days are ahead. Emily Guskin, Washington Post, "It’s Independence Day, but Americans aren’t feeling so proud," 4 July 2018 And in May, as conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was readying his downbeat for Tosca at one of the orchestra’s last concerts before the spring tour, the outside world seeped into Verizon Hall. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "The Philadelphia Orchestra's tour of Europe and Israel is done: What did we learn?," 15 June 2018 The downbeat atmosphere wasn’t helped by the presence of thick dark clouds, which unleashed occasional heavy downpours. NBC News, "Soccer team trapped in Thailand: Weather key to rescue operations as mood turns somber," 6 July 2018 Women were more pessimistic about the situation than men, Democrats more downbeat than Republicans, and those ages 50 to 64 the most critical of all — 73 percent of them said homelessness is worse. John Wilkens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diegans think homelessness is getting worse, would support spending more tax dollars to help, new poll shows," 26 May 2018 That helps to counter at least some of the more downbeat rumors of late about weakening iPhone demand. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Apple’s iPhone Still Gushes Cash," 2 May 2018 Some seriously downbeat ambient electronica soon began to resound through the pool area. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside a Hamptons Sex Party for the Elite," 29 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downbeat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of downbeat

Noun

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1950, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for downbeat

The first known use of downbeat was in 1869

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More Definitions for downbeat

downbeat

noun

English Language Learners Definition of downbeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the downward movement that a conductor makes to show which note is played with the greatest stress or force

: the first beat of a measure of music

downbeat

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of downbeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: sad or depressing : not happy or hopeful

downbeat

noun
down·​beat | \ˈdau̇n-ˌbēt \

Kids Definition of downbeat

: the first beat of a measure of music

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