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

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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

The two married and built a school where students take private and group lessons in piano, voice, stringed instruments and percussion, among others. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "A Fishers theater has been quietly hosting shows for years. Now it'll be something bigger.," 9 July 2019 Set to music by the Swiss percussion group Rhythm Talk, Mojalet Dance Collective premiered the dance in 2015 and it was presented when the company toured Switzerland. Marcia Mannawriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mojalet co-founder Faith Jensen-Ismay’s new fearless outlook is reflected in this year’s summer lineup," 4 July 2019 Her latest project is the Bay Area supergroup Skip the Needle, a funk metal collective featuring Shelley Doty and Katie Cash on guitars, Kofy Brown on drums, Randle on bass and percussion, and all four women on vocals. Andrew Gilbert,, "Skip the Needle to brings its joyful funk metal to debut album release show," 24 June 2019 The percussion and groove-heavy music cuts and burns in a fashion that sounds perfectly wedded to the sentiment. John Adamian,, "M.A.K.U. Soundsystem’s activist message at Real Art Ways," 14 June 2019 Originally recorded as a piano solo, Cowell will be joined by an ensemble of strings, vocals and percussion, giving new life to a work that highlights an underappreciated moment in our history. 8 p.m. $10-$25. Washington Post, "16 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 13 June 2019 Scooters rip-roar through increasingly narrow streets, like its own percussion. National Geographic, "Music in Morocco: The ultimate sonic journey," 23 July 2019 The tracks themselves are percussion-heavy, with plenty of ambient sounds meant to evoke the jungle; often, this doesn’t grate too intensely. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "What’s Missing From Beyoncé’s Lion King Soundtrack," 19 July 2019 The event features live music by The Heart, an acoustic duo consisting of Dale Peters on vocals and acoustic guitar and his wife, Cindy Peters, on vocals, harmonies and hand percussion. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sorority recognizes members," 13 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for percussion

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for percussion

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

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More Definitions for percussion



English Language Learners Definition of percussion

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


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


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

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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 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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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