improvise

verb
im·​pro·​vise | \ ˈim-prə-ˌvīz also ˌim-prə-ˈvīz \
improvised; improvising

Definition of improvise

transitive verb

1 : to compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously
2 : to make, invent, or arrange offhand the quarterback improvised a play
3 : to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand improvise a meal

intransitive verb

: to improvise something

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Other Words from improvise

improviser or improvisor \ ˈim-​prə-​ˌvī-​zər , ˌim-​prə-​ˈvī-​ \ noun

Examples of improvise in a Sentence

If you forget any of your lines, try to improvise. Good jazz musicians know how to improvise. He had to improvise his opening speech when he forgot his notes. The trumpet player performed an improvised solo. I wasn't expecting guests, so I had to improvise a meal with what I had in my refrigerator.
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Recent Examples on the Web

FlexNYC, which builds on Flexn, the homegrown African American dance form whose participants use their bodies to improvise personal stories, is already being taught in 20 public schools and community centers. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Inside The Shed, Manhattan's New State-of-the-Art Cultural Venue," 12 Dec. 2018 Learning that Reynolds and Jackie Gleason essentially improvised the movie on the fly makes Smokey that much more of a pleasure. James Freeman, WSJ, "Burt Reynolds and Washington’s ‘Senior’ Suspects," 7 Sep. 2018 Fight Quest 4 Peace features an ensemble of actors improvising a superhero story based on audience suggestions from the audience; the improv forms the connective tissue between choreographed fight scenes. Oliver Sava, Chicago Reader, "Sluggish stage combat is Fight Quest 4 Peace’s kryptonite," 22 June 2018 The show was broadcast live, and for two years, Caesar and Fabray created comedy on the fly, often improvising as the cameras rolled. Matt Schudel, Houston Chronicle, "TV and Broadway star Nanette Fabray dies at 97," 25 Feb. 2018 The bots essentially have to develop a form of intuition that allows them to improvise in unusual situations and collaborate with one another. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "AI Bots Can Defeat Elite Human Gamers in Dota 2 Tournament," 12 Aug. 2018 In these sequences, Hayes improvises voices and selves that challenge and attempt escape from virulent, American modes of masculinity. Walton Muyumba, latimes.com, "The right poetry collection for right now: Terrance Hayes' 'American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin'," 14 June 2018 For the super-structure that Marsalis and friends built on that lovely tune featured multiple sections, including a magical, extended passage in which Marsalis improvised over a softly stated ostinato from bassist Shaw. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Jason Marsalis illuminates music of the past at Andy's," 26 Jan. 2018 But, when work commitments got in the way of things, he was forced to improvise and ended up proposing in their living room instead. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Who is Karl Glusman? Zoë Kravtiz Confirms She's Been Secretly Engaged to the Actor For Months," 30 Oct. 2018

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

1788, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for improvise

French improviser, from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso sudden, from Latin improvisus, literally, unforeseen, from in- + provisus, past participle of providēre to see ahead — more at provide

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Statistics for improvise

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for improvise

The first known use of improvise was in 1788

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More Definitions for improvise

improvise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of improvise

: to speak or perform without preparation

: to make or create (something) by using whatever is available

improvise

verb
im·​pro·​vise | \ ˈim-prə-ˌvīz \
improvised; improvising

Kids Definition of improvise

1 : to speak or perform without preparing ahead of time I improvised a song on the spot.
2 : to make, invent, or arrange by using whatever is available … Cluny sat beneath an awning that had been improvised from the damaged tent.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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