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

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Other Words from improvisation

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

Examples of improvisation in a Sentence

that comedy skit was a totally unrehearsed improvisation
Recent Examples on the Web But the interactive performance, which has taken place in Cleveland regularly since 1996, involves improvisation based on audience participation, often leading to hilarious results. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "16 things to do in Cleveland on Saturday, Feb. 15," 15 Feb. 2020 Now, things that happen by improvisation on their own, that’s that. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks new OC Joe Moorhead plans changes to passing game, quarterback’s running responsibilities," 6 Feb. 2020 The project was born of a series of improvisations made by Feist, Todd Dahlhoff and Shazad Ismaily, during the 37d03d residency in Berlin, August 2018, and developed at Sounds from a Safe Harbour in September 2019 in Cork, Ireland. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "2020 MusicNow Festival Lineup Includes Feist, Bryce Dessner, Moses Sumney, Helado Negro," 4 Feb. 2020 Must-see acts Whether an act is new to the Arizona festival or has been performing for all 32 years, new material and improvisation keep the material fresh from year to year, Siegel said. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Arizona Renaissance Festival is an escape from modern life. Here's what's on tap this year," 3 Feb. 2020 But his reputation rested equally on his abilities as a composer and arranger for large ensembles, interpolating bebop’s crosshatched rhythms and extended improvisations into lush tapestries. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Jimmy Heath, 93, Jazz Saxophonist and Composer, Is Dead," 19 Jan. 2020 Interspersed with scenes of feverish jazz improvisation, the film depicts a culture all too rarely represented in American cinema. Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Picks: A February To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.," 3 Feb. 2020 Yet the dramatic piano solo that followed became a forum for vibrant jazz improvisation, Roberts interjecting his own thematic material, then leading his trio in a wholly new section suggesting a late-night blues reverie. Howard Reich,, "Chicago Philharmonic review: Marcus Roberts jazzes Gershwin’s Concerto in F," 6 Dec. 2019 The work takes the form of a structured improvisation, which begins with barely audible sounds but does reach peaks of intensity, using such materials as fishing line, a dog whistle and the inner tube of a tire. New York Times, "Burning Pianos and Whispering Rivers: A Composer’s Journey," 8 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of improvisation was in 1777

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Statistics for improvisation

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Improvisation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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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