metronome

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noun met·ro·nome \ˈme-trə-ˌnōm\

Definition of metronome

  1. :  an device designed to mark exact time by a regularly repeated tick

metronome was our Word of the Day on 08/18/2008. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of metronome from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metronome'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The patent for the metronome was entered in 1816: "John Malzl [sic], of Poland-street, Middlesex, Machinist; for an instrument . . . which he denominates a Metronome, or musical time-keeper." The courts, however, later proved that the aforementioned Johann Maelzel copied a pendulum design of Dietrich Winkel, making Winkel the actual inventor. Nonetheless, Maelzel was the more successful marketer of the metronome and even has a notation named after him. The "M.M." in notations like "M.M. = 60" stands for "Maelzel's metronome" and indicates a tempo of 60 beats per minute or a beat per tick of the metronome as it ticks 60 times, in the case of our example. The name of the invention itself is based on the Greek words metron, meaning "measure," and nomos, meaning "law."

Illustration of metronome

Origin and Etymology of metronome

Greek metron + -nomos controlling, from nomos law — more at nimble


First Known Use: 1816


METRONOME Defined for English Language Learners

metronome

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noun

Definition of metronome for English Language Learners

  • : a device that makes a regular, repeated sound to show a musician how fast a piece of music should be played


METRONOME Defined for Kids

metronome

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noun met·ro·nome \ˈme-trə-ˌnōm\

Definition of metronome for Students

  1. :  a device that ticks in a regular pattern to help a musician play a piece of music at the proper speed



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