off·​beat | \ ˈȯf-ˌbēt How to pronounce offbeat (audio) \

Definition of offbeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an unaccented beat or portion of a beat in a musical measure


off·​beat | \ ˈȯf-ˈbēt How to pronounce offbeat (audio) \

Definition of offbeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: different from the ordinary, usual, or expected in usually an appealing way : eccentric, unconventional an offbeat romantic comedy … you have to drive through a shallow stream to reach this wonderfully offbeat inn, hiding behind immaculate rows of fruit trees. But it's worth it.— William Sertl Luscious ice cream made fresh daily comes in such offbeat flavors as banana-walnut, chocolate-cherry, and nectarine.— Caroline Bates … our profession's deepest and darkest secret—that libraries are a ball to work in and that librarians tend to be rather offbeat and funky people.— Will Manley

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of offbeat in a Sentence

Adjective She has an offbeat sense of humor. He often plays offbeat characters in his films. an offbeat approach to teaching The performance was refreshingly offbeat.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Posing biting questions about identity, sexuality and trauma, Show Them a Good Time is an offbeat yet moving look at contemporary womanhood. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "Here Are the 12 New Books You Should Read in January," 27 Dec. 2019 The poetic empathy, the beautiful offbeat framing and unexpected transitions, and the magnificent handling of actors are all pure Campion. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Books / Film / Foreign / History / On Video / Poetry Five literary biopics whose pictures are worth a thousand words," 30 May 2018 The Fringe is full of offbeat shows so there is no way to guarantee what every person will enjoy. Matthew J. Palm,, "Orlando Fringe: Sentinel's Best of the Fest," 23 May 2018 Offbeat Sculpture Garden Sculpture gardens are like junk drawers: Seems like everybody—the Hammer, the Norton Simon, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—has one. Marielle Wakim, Los Angeles Magazine, "Best of LA: 92 of Our Favorite Things to Eat, Do, and Buy Right Now," 14 July 2017 KC Fringe Festival July 20-30 at multiple venues Offbeat artists and performances will abound at the 13th annual event for experimental theater and much more. Bill Brownlee And Dan Kelly,,, "Ink picks: 10 events not to miss in July," 28 June 2017 OREGON Offbeat Oregon History - Step off the beaten path with this podcast about true Oregon stories. Rebeca Coleman, Smithsonian, "Learn the Secret History of Your State With These Addictive Podcasts," 18 Apr. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective One way to do that is to look for offbeat subjects, rather than the celebrities who get the applause on the In Memoriam reel. Washington Post, "Style Conversational Week 1369: The bones mots of Style Invitational obit poems," 30 Jan. 2020 Buy an offbeat bottle Sparkling wine often makes cameos during special occasions, but there’s no need to splurge on a pricey bottle of Champagne. Alia Akkam, House Beautiful, "A Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Birthdays at Home," 4 May 2020 If nothing else, the offbeat project is one way to insert a little joy into a world wrapped up in doom and gloom. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Miniature outdoor cafe for squirrels in Oak Park draws international attention," 21 Apr. 2020 For starters, the new boss allows dogs to run free in the halls, while their offbeat representative, Gavin Firth (John Larroquette, wonderfully weird), is somehow both strangely accommodating and almost impossible to trust. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Good Fight' opens its fourth season with a 'what if Hillary won' episode," 8 Apr. 2020 The offbeat municipality has proclaimed itself a micro-nation called the Conch Republic, where people seize the day by hitting the high seas, beer in hand, or chowing down on signature seafood dishes at seemingly endless happy hours. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Friendliest Cities in the U.S.: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 2 Apr. 2020 In more modern times Baker Beach has become known for more offbeat pastimes, including nude sunbathing on the northern part of the beach. Bill Van Niekerken,, "Archive photos: Baker Beach’s beautiful vistas — and deadly history," 11 Mar. 2020 Rather reportedly tied himself to a tree during a hurricane before such gimmicks became standard — then entertained on election nights with corn pone aphorisms and an offbeat personality that inspired an REM song. Joel Mathis, TheWeek, "The end of Chris Matthews," 3 Mar. 2020 In between came Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto, its passages of offbeat-jabbed pattern-work seeming to anticipate Adams’ minimalism. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "An elegantly structured Dallas Symphony program, but performances weren’t the best," 7 Mar. 2020

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


1901, in the meaning defined above


1922, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about offbeat

Time Traveler for offbeat

Time Traveler

The first known use of offbeat was in 1901

See more words from the same year

Statistics for offbeat

Cite this Entry

“Offbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for offbeat


How to pronounce offbeat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of offbeat

informal : different from the ordinary, usual, or expected

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on offbeat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for offbeat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with offbeat

Nglish: Translation of offbeat for Spanish Speakers

Comments on offbeat

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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