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

Examples of gagaku in a Sentence

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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gagaku.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 19 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on gagaku

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!