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

For even with a rotating cast of musicians, the Recession Seven continues to celebrate classic swing music with fidelity to its stylistic demands, but also with the verve and freedom of in-the-moment jazz improvisation. Howard Reich,, "Petra van Nuis celebrates the art of swing," 14 June 2018 In this and other pieces, Morton achieved a remarkable integration of improvisation, spontaneity and variety. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "Plotting His Way Into Jazz History," 7 Sep. 2018 His 1920s recordings with the Red Hot Peppers reached the peak of the New Orleans style of group embellishment and collective improvisation, with its trademark heterophony and polyphony. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "Plotting His Way Into Jazz History," 7 Sep. 2018 Her language is part chamber jazz, part big-boned rock percussion, part free improvisation. New York Times, "14 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 The very nature of jazz brings people together—the whole idea of improvisation. Jordannah Elizabeth, Chicago Reader, "Music The first black leader of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Heather Ireland Robinson, talks segregation and infrastructure," 30 Mar. 2018 Getting a dozen musicians to play tightly together and to still be nimble enough to allow for improvisation and freedom is a feat the TTB pulls off. John Adamian,, "Tedeschi Trucks And Jay Critch Are Just Two Of This Week's Must-See Shows," 2 July 2018 The performing arts summer camp includes instruction, classes and workshops in voice, dance, comedy improvisation, songwriting, performance techniques, sound and lighting. Linda Mcintosh,, "Daughters of American Revolution keep marching news," 12 July 2018 The Berklee in Puerto Rico program provides access to the Berklee method of music education, encompassing theory, ear training, improvisation, ensemble performance and instrumental instruction. Justino Aguila, Billboard, "Berklee College of Music Provides Puerto Rican Musicians $1.5 Million in Scholarships," 21 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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Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

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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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irregularly rounded

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