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down·​beat ˈdau̇n-ˌbēt How to pronounce downbeat (audio)
: the downward stroke of a conductor indicating the principally accented note of a measure of music
also : the first beat of a measure
: a decline in activity or prosperity


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: pessimistic, gloomy
a downbeat assessment

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
Powell also made a point of acknowledging downbeat readings of consumer sentiment. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2024 Much like the duo's earlier film, The Lodge takes a story that is relatively straightforward and energizes it with a slick nihilism that lends it the patina of the best downbeat horrors from the 1970s. Declan Gallagher,, 16 Oct. 2023 The scorching new track is stuffed with dizzying riffs that always seem to lead to downbeat punches. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2024 Almost immediately after, automakers and suppliers across the globe chimed in with their own downbeat forecasts. Esha Dey, Fortune, 13 Jan. 2024 At the neighboring tables, portside locals shared space with downbeat travellers from both sides of the Mediterranean. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 Advertisement This downbeat assessment might turn out to be premature. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan. 2024 The theater was hushed before his downbeat when a voice rang out from a balcony. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Expect sparks to fly staring with the first downbeat. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2023
But the bank gave somewhat downbeat guidance on its net interest income for the remainder of 2024. Vinamrata Chaturvedi, Quartz, 12 Apr. 2024 Intended as a more ironic and downbeat alternative to the then-burgeoning Bond franchise, this spy thriller (from the novel by Len Deighton) sees Caine as a dapper, lightly insubordinate, glasses-wearing British agent who uncovers clues to a conspiracy against the world’s scientists. Dennis Perkins,, 5 Apr. 2024 Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk was unusually downbeat on Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call late Wednesday. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2023 The latest retail reports from the likes of Lululemon and Nike NKE -0.2% were also downbeat as both reported disappointing sales, softening demand, and slower traffic. Robert Barone, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 Even though both inflation and perceptions of the economy have recently begun to improve, people remain downbeat on the president and his handling of the economy. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2024 The bond rally resumed Tuesday, driving yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. notes to their lowest level since summer and lifting technology shares on an otherwise downbeat day for stocks. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, 5 Dec. 2023 Yet Patel does one thing superlatively well, and that’s using the film as a pedestal for his downbeat star performance. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Mar. 2024 Americans remain downbeat even if the economic mood has ticked upward. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'downbeat.' 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


1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1950, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of downbeat was in 1766

Dictionary Entries Near downbeat

Cite this Entry

“Downbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the downward stroke of a conductor indicating the principally accented note of a measure of music
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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