im·pro·vi·sa·tion | \(ˌ)im-ˌprä-və-ˈzā-shən, 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

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Other Words from improvisation

improvisational \(ˌ)im-ˌprä-və-ˈzā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl, ˌim-prə-və- also ˌim-prə-(ˌ)vī- \ adjective
improvisationally adverb

Synonyms for improvisation


ad-lib, extemporization, impromptu, improv

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Examples of improvisation in a Sentence

that comedy skit was a totally unrehearsed improvisation

Recent Examples on the Web

British reedist Shabaka Hutchings, a dynamo rooted in jazz, is an agile and curious musician who spreads his soulfully biting improvisation across wildly disparate projects. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "British reedist Shabaka Hutchings brings his Caribbean-flavored jazz quartet Sons of Kemet to Chicago," 21 June 2018 The electronics, controlled by Scott Worthington, included recordings of improvisations by Gidon Kremer heard straight and electronically altered along with background studio noises. Mark Swed,, "Beethoven rolls over at the Ojai Music Festival," 8 June 2018 His greatest attribute is his ability to throw on the move, both by design (rollouts, bootlegs) and improvisation. Andy Benoit,, "The Keys to Trubisky’s Potential," 6 June 2018 So, there is some improvisation, but that factor is very small. Ed Symkus,, "Making music with Laurel and Hardy," 3 May 2018 All these questions point to the central enigma of the Holocaust, which has variously been interpreted as a premeditated action and as a barbaric improvisation. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "How American Racism Influenced Hitler," 23 Apr. 2018 This performance offers the chance to see Ms. Gordon’s edgy improvisations in an intimate setting. New York Times, "14 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 This morning Chicago art gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey—which also runs a superb record label under the same name, focusing on jazz and improvisation—announced the winners of the first Instant Award in Improvised Music. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Music / Post No Bills New $50,000 prize in improvised music gives its first awards to Joe McPhee and Susan Alcorn," 10 July 2018 This task is accompanied and aided by instrument instruction, band practice, a showcase, a day in the recording studio and songwriting and improvisation workshops. Mónica Marie Zorilla,, "45 affordable summer camps for kids," 5 June 2018

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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Statistics for improvisation

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for improvisation

The first known use of improvisation was in 1777

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More Definitions for improvisation


im·pro·vi·sa·tion | \im-ˌprä-və-ˈzā-shən \

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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Comments on improvisation

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