ga·​ga·​ku gä-ˈgä-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce gagaku (audio)
: the ancient court music of Japan

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Salons and concerts were organized; at one, Cage and Henry Cowell presented an evening of Japanese gagaku, and, at another, the German-Japanese poet Sadakichi Hartmann, formerly a Village mainstay, impersonated Edgar Allan Poe. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 21 July 2022

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

Word History


borrowed from Japanese, from ga "elegance" + gaku "music"

First Known Use

1929, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gagaku was in 1929

Dictionary Entries Near gagaku

Cite this Entry

“Gagaku.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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