improvise

verb
im·​pro·​vise | \ ˈim-prə-ˌvīz also ˌim-prə-ˈvīz How to pronounce improvise (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from improvise

improviser or improvisor \ ˈim-​prə-​ˌvī-​zər How to pronounce improvisor (audio) , 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Many of these decisions—particularly the appointments and the tariffs—appeared to have been largely improvised and were carried out without consultation of relevant leaders and stakeholders. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Corruption Is the Tie that Binds for Trump-Era Republicans," 11 June 2019 Zendaya improvised one such scene to create a moment that felt as authentic as possible. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Zendaya Improvised One Of Euphoria's Most Emotional Scenes," 25 June 2019 With both law enforcement and enemies hot on their trail in Casablanca, Danny and Lexi (Matt Barr, Sofia Pernas) must improvise to stay alive and out of jail. Ed Stockly, latimes.com, "What's on TV Tuesday: ‘Blood & Treasure’ on CBS," 24 June 2019 In 2012, French jazz musician Bernard Lubat improvised with the Continuator, which was trained in his style of musicianship, leaving audiences unable to distinguish the difference between the machine and the musician. Suyin Haynes, Time, "This Robot Artist Just Became the First to Stage a Solo Exhibition. What Does That Say About Creativity?," 17 June 2019 Among his many pursuits, Leonardo improvised melodies on the lira da braccio, a Renaissance-era stringed instrument, and studied the intricacies of acoustics and musical design in his notebooks. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 Trump often improvises his remarks and is known for bold declarations in person and on his Twitter account. Washington Post, "In Peru, Pence defends Syrian strike to Latin America allies," 15 Apr. 2018 Voldemort awkwardly hugging Draco was not scripted, but improvised by Ralph Fiennes. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "33 Mind-Blowing "Harry Potter" Movie Facts That'll Make You Want to Watch Them All Over Again," 31 Jan. 2019 Wide receiver Marcus Johnson hauled in a diving touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone from Wilson, who had improvised and rolled out of the pocket in a red zone drill. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks training camp Day 10: What happened, injury report, highlights and more," 7 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about improvise

Statistics for improvise

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for improvise

The first known use of improvise was in 1788

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce improvise (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on improvise

What made you want to look up improvise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!