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



Definition of downbeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: pessimistic, gloomy a downbeat assessment

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 And at 11:01, the first downbeat of 'Jingle Bells' starts. Nancy Kruh,, 23 Nov. 2021 This move emphasized a strong kick on every downbeat, popularizing the four-to-the-floor rhythmic pattern and laying the foundations for early house and techno. Katie Bain, Billboard, 1 Nov. 2021 This is a rare instance of Watts stepping into the spotlight, throwing fills onto the end of nearly every line but never missing the timing of the next downbeat., 25 Aug. 2021 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, 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, 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, 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Center for the Arts earlier this month, the conductor was informed that the entertainment license for the evening had been revoked.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,, 25 May 2018 Over a resonant downbeat, Abel Tesfaye makes good use of his signature falsetto. Raisa Bruner, Time, 2 Feb. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As a result, Republicans in the Walker era were almost uniformly upbeat about how things were going and Democrats were overwhelmingly downbeat. Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, 10 June 2022 Rivalries were put aside when the Ukrainian national anthem was played and was applauded by the home fans, who later clapped off the downbeat opposition. Rob Harris, Chicago Tribune, 5 June 2022 Chinese internet stocks jumped, after results from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. came in ahead of the market’s downbeat expectations. Rebecca Feng, WSJ, 27 May 2022 Target and Walmart stunned the markets in recent days with underwhelming corporate results and downbeat full-year forecasts, adding to the fears that inflation will force the mighty American consumer to hold back on purchases, sinking growth. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 19 May 2022 Commenters remarked that despite the soothing title, the song was an odd choice due to its downbeat lyrics. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 25 Apr. 2022 These companies are thriving despite the fact that consumer prices are soaring and many Americans have a downbeat view of the economy because of sky-high inflation and rising interest rates. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 But The Batman moves the goalposts for downbeat superhero thrills. Darren Franich,, 10 Mar. 2022 One reason Stokes’s downbeat lyrics didn’t dampen the mood is that many of them were sung back to her by the audience in a spirit of communal bliss. Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of downbeat


1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1950, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of downbeat was in 1766

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Cite this Entry

“Downbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for downbeat


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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