noun, often attributive
mu·​sic | \ ˈmyü-zik How to pronounce music (audio) \

Essential Meaning of music

1 : sounds that are sung by voices or played on musical instruments listening to live/recorded music This is one of my favorite pieces of music. See More Examplesperforming music in front of an audience dancing to the music of a big band They are writing/composing music for a new album. a song with music by George Gershwin and words/lyrics by Ira Gershwin classical/popular music They like to make music [=play or sing music] with friends. The play/poem was set to music. [=music was written to go with the words of the play/poem] background music [=music played while something else is happening]Hide
2 : written or printed symbols showing how music should be played or sung He is learning to read music. a music stand [=a holder on which printed music is placed so that a musician can see it while playing or singing]
3 : the art or skill of creating or performing music She studied music in college. music theory

Full Definition of music

1a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity
b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony choral music piano music recorded music
2a : an agreeable sound : euphony her voice was music to my ears the music of a nightingale
b : musical quality the music of verse the music of lovingly orchestrated wordsSaturday Review
3 : a musical accompaniment a play set to music
4 : the score (see score entry 1 sense 6a) of a musical composition set down on paper leafing through the music
5 : a distinctive type or category of music there is a music for everybody— Eric Salzman rock music jazz music classical music

Examples of music in a Sentence

This is one of my favorite pieces of music. performing music in front of an audience dancing to the music of a big band They are writing music for a new album. a song with music by George Gershwin and words by Ira Gershwin He is learning to read music. She studied music in college.
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Recent Examples on the Web But boy did Shan get the hero's exit, complete with swelling music and slow-motion voting on the revote — befitting of someone who has dominated the edit going all the way back to episode 1 (sorry, Heather). Dalton Ross,, 25 Nov. 2021 There are several airline lounges throughout Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 where travelers can have a snack or a drink, get some work done or unwind with music or a good book. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 25 Nov. 2021 Light shows with synchronized music will be in the Lyric Courtyard and Center Theater Courtyard. San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Nov. 2021 Luckenbach Texas’ Thanksgiving Ball, a community dance with live music. Annie Blanks, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Nov. 2021 The judges ruled that the strategy in other cases against drug companies and pharmacies had stretched the law, which covers a mix of offenses against the community at large, such as disturbing a neighborhood with loud music or a foul stench. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2021 The Salt Lake Tribune’s first Salt City Best Fest will celebrate food and drink from around the Wasatch Front, with offerings from restaurants, distilleries, breweries and other vendors, along with live music. Jeff Parrott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Nov. 2021 Newport Newport on the Levee is hosting a special shopping event with live music and promotions for small businesses on Saturday. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 23 Nov. 2021 The movie is written by Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham with music by Henry Jackman. Todd Spangler, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for music

Middle English musik, from Anglo-French musike, from Latin musica, from Greek mousikē any art presided over by the Muses, especially music, from feminine of mousikos of the Muses, from Mousa Muse

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Time Traveler for music

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The first known use of music was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near music

mushy chick


musica falsa

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Statistics for music

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Music.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for music


mu·​sic | \ ˈmyü-zik How to pronounce music (audio) \

Kids Definition of music

1 : an arrangement of sounds having melody, rhythm, and usually harmony classical music
2 : the art of producing pleasing or expressive combinations of tones especially with melody, rhythm, and usually harmony I want to study music in college.
3 : a musical composition set down on paper Bring your music.
4 : a pleasing sound Your voice is music to my ears.

More from Merriam-Webster on music

Nglish: Translation of music for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of music for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about music


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