downbeat

noun
down·​beat | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌbēt How to pronounce downbeat (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Friz Freleng gave us a highly theatrical Bugs who seemed to exist on a vaudeville stage, always ready at the drop of a downbeat to fly into song and dance. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "Bugs Bunny Is Still Making Mischief," 13 Oct. 2020 These are all part of the remarkably consistent downbeat on radio stations given over to holiday music. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "The Profound Loneliness of Christmas," 20 Dec. 2019 Heavy on the downbeats, his reading of that season-opening staple was the only weak link on the orchestra’s unusually lively and engaging opening gala on Saturday night. Washington Post, "In NSO opener, Noseda shows you don’t have to dumb down to have fun," 30 Sep. 2019 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Center for the Arts earlier this month, the conductor was informed that the entertainment license for the evening had been revoked.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 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Center for the Arts earlier this month, the conductor was informed that the entertainment license for the evening had been revoked.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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Phoebe Bridgers, the indie-music breakout of 2020, transmutes her personal angst into downbeat songs accentuated by the self-consciously intimate stream of depression posts on her public Instagram account. New York Times, "How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted," 19 Jan. 2021 British businesses, among the world’s worst hit by the coronavirus, were downbeat. The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’: EU and UK clinch narrow Brexit accord," 24 Dec. 2020 However, at a meeting with the EU’s 27 ambassadors on Monday, the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, struck a more downbeat note. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Deal Given Fresh Impetus by Leaders’ Diplomatic Push," 13 Dec. 2020 Even given a flat performance since the company’s first downbeat projection three months ago, Netflix shares remain up 62% for the year—second only to Amazon among megacap internet names. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Netflix Plot Twist Was Foreshadowed," 20 Oct. 2020 Respondents with incomes of $80,000 a year or more were downbeat about the prospects of California’s next generation, with 73% saying children would be worse off than their parents. Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, "The Golden State’s future? Most Californians are pessimistic," 9 Dec. 2020 But this year, even the neologisms were a bit downbeat. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "Oxford’s 2020 Word of the Year? It’s Too Hard to Isolate," 22 Nov. 2020 The global stock of negative-yielding investment-grade debt is still near a $17 trillion record set earlier this month, in another sign that investors remain downbeat on inflation. John Ainger, Bloomberg.com, "Virus Fears Squash Reflation Bets in $20 Trillion Bond Market," 17 Nov. 2020 Within the persistently downbeat U.S. media, no patterns are apparent. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "U.S. news coverage of COVID has been more negative than in other countries, researchers find," 29 Nov. 2020

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

1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1950, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for downbeat

Time Traveler

The first known use of downbeat was in 1766

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Cite this Entry

“Downbeat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/downbeat. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for downbeat

downbeat

noun

English Language Learners Definition of downbeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

music
: 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 How to pronounce downbeat (audio) \

Kids Definition of downbeat

: the first beat of a measure of music

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