percussion

noun
per·​cus·​sion | \ pər-ˈkə-shən How to pronounce percussion (audio) \

Definition of percussion

1 : the act of percussing: such as
a : the striking of a percussion cap so as to set off the charge in a firearm
b : the beating or striking of a musical instrument
c : the act or technique of tapping the surface of a body part to learn the condition of the parts beneath by the resultant sound
2 : the striking of sound on the ear
3 : percussion instruments that form a section of a band or orchestra

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from percussion

percussion adjective

Examples of percussion in a Sentence

He plays percussion for the band. The marimba is a percussion instrument.

Recent Examples on the Web

His roots, on the other hand, come from a comprehensive knowledge of Cuban percussion and contemporary dancehall, dembow, reggaeton and Latin house music. August Brown, latimes.com, "SXSW looks to the past and future with Todd Rundgren, Cuco and DJ Jigue," 17 Mar. 2018 Sam Farrar Instrument: Samples, keys, acoustic, percussion, and background vocals. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Wait, Who Else Besides Adam Levine Is in Maroon 5?," 20 Jan. 2019 Specialized drills have a chisel setting that allows the tool to work in a percussion mode without rotary action at all. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Cordless Drill/Driver vs Impact Driver: Which Do You Need?," 24 Jan. 2019 Ranging in age from 14 to 21, the performers make up the horn line (brass instruments such as trumpet, tuba and trombone), percussion (drums, cymbals, keyboards and more) and color guard. Anne Dunlap, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Drum Corps International marches into Orlando," 6 July 2018 Their jumps add percussion to the din, boards slapping and grinding against rails and pipes. Amelia Nierenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Lynch Family Skatepark offers teenagers discipline, camaraderie, freedom," 2 July 2018 Dancers Calvin Royal III and James Whiteside dazzled with their tap-dancing while ballerinas en pointe jetéd across echoing floorboards, creating a percussion of their own. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "It Was Ladies’ Night at the American Ballet Theatre Fall Gala," 18 Oct. 2018 Like in the previous version, a cool and fading steel guitar compliments the rhythmic melody and calming percussion. Fox News, "Stevie Nicks and LeAnn Rimes share heartbreak in 'Borrowed' duet," 16 July 2018 Composer Cliff Martinez even borrows the tick-tock percussion that accompanies the Big Heist at the movie’s conclusion. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Re-Heated: 'Den of Thieves' steals from classic heist movies," 18 Jan. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for percussion

Middle English, from Anglo-French percussioun, from Latin percussion-, percussio, from percutere to beat, from per- thoroughly + quatere to shake

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about percussion

Statistics for percussion

Last Updated

24 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for percussion

The first known use of percussion was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for percussion

percussion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of percussion

: musical instruments (such as drums, cymbals, or xylophones) that you play by hitting or shaking

percussion

noun
per·​cus·​sion | \ pər-ˈkə-shən How to pronounce percussion (audio) \

Kids Definition of percussion

: the musical instruments (as drums, cymbals, and maracas) that are played by striking or shaking

Other Words from percussion

percussion adjective

percussion

noun
per·​cus·​sion | \ pər-ˈkəsh-ən How to pronounce percussion (audio) \

Medical Definition of percussion

1 : the act or technique of tapping the surface of a body part to learn the condition of the parts beneath by the resulting sound
2 : massage consisting of the striking of a body part with light rapid blows

called also tapotement

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on percussion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with percussion

Spanish Central: Translation of percussion

Nglish: Translation of percussion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of percussion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about percussion

Comments on percussion

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!