im·​pro·​vi·​sa·​tion | \ (ˌ)im-ˌprä-və-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce improvisation (audio) , ˌim-prə-və- also ˌim-prə-(ˌ)vī- \

Definition of improvisation

1 : the act or art of improvising
2 : something (such as a musical or dramatic composition) improvised

Other Words from improvisation

improvisational \ (ˌ)im-​ˌprä-​və-​ˈzā-​shnəl How to pronounce improvisation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , ˌim-​prə-​və-​ also  ˌim-​prə-​(ˌ)vī-​ \ adjective
improvisationally adverb

Synonyms for improvisation


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Examples of improvisation in a Sentence

that comedy skit was a totally unrehearsed improvisation
Recent Examples on the Web Equally important is the value of improvisation, another element that can’t be planned for in the script. Randee Dawn, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2022 In these, there was no suggestion of improvisation, just myriad harpsichord effects that revealed an unexpected variety of tone from his three-year-old, two-register instrument built in Los Angeles by Curtis Berak. Los Angeles Times, 10 Dec. 2021 How much in-studio improvisation was there on Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club? Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 2 Nov. 2021 The pandemic forced large and small companies alike to become masters of improvisation, develop WFH routines, set up VPNs, come up with ways to authenticate and patch in team members by the hundreds or thousands. Kevin Korte, Forbes, 20 Oct. 2021 In quick, clean dialogues that have the naturalistic feel of improvisation yet the pointedness of tight scripting (here courtesy of Muntean, Razvan Radulescu and Alexandru Baciu), the relationships within the group are set up with instant clarity. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 But Graves kept heart-monitoring machinery in his studio, for both musical improvisation and medical research. Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2021 Second, taking some classes in improvisation could be very helpful. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Dec. 2021 When Lattimore moved to Philadelphia after college, a vibrant network of young experimental musicians indoctrinated her in improvisation. New York Times, 26 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'improvisation.' 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 improvisation

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for improvisation

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The first known use of improvisation was in 1777

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Last Updated

27 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Improvisation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for improvisation


im·​pro·​vi·​sa·​tion | \ im-ˌprä-və-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce improvisation (audio) \

Kids Definition of improvisation

1 : the act or art of speaking or performing without practicing or preparing ahead of time
2 : something that is improvised


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