per·​cus·​sive | \pər-ˈkə-siv \

Definition of percussive 

1 : of or relating to percussion especially : operative or operated by striking

2 : having powerful impact

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from percussive

percussively adverb
percussiveness noun

Examples of percussive in a Sentence

The song had a punchy, percussive rhythm.

Recent Examples on the Web

The percussive plugs are great for shooting sports, explosions, and sharp loud noise. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Strange Noise-Blocking Plugs That Custom-Fit Your Ears," 19 Oct. 2018 The cast keeps up the energy with clever use of the multilevel set, percussive instruments, and audience interaction in the aisles. Marissa Oberlander, Chicago Reader, "Chicago Shakespeare’s Peter Pan is a soaring delight for both kids and adults," 11 July 2018 The capacity audience of 1,800 was compelled to dance for much of the percussive 100-minute concert. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "David Byrne's utopic show at Kauffman Center had everyone dancing," 8 June 2018 His highly percussive touch, whether on a grand piano or a high-tech digital keyboard synthesizer, has long been one of his trademarks. George Varga,, "Chick Corea remains perpetually active: "I don't know what 'retire' means."," 17 Mar. 2018 The special achievement awards, created by renowned Canadian cymbal makers Sabian, are also a playable percussive instrument, incorporating five custom bronze crotales. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Shawn Mendes, peermusic & Sarah McLachlan Honored at 29th Annual SOCAN Awards," 21 June 2018 Think of the percussive motion as a beating or hammering movement, versus just vibration. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "All About the TheraGun, the Self-Massage Device That's Taking Over Instagram," 28 June 2018 The kora, too, is a stringed instrument with a largely percussive charter. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in NYC This Weekend," 15 Mar. 2018 That style — with its shout-along refrains — has always been heavily percussive, with a touch of hip-hop in the rhythms of Reynolds’ phrasing, and even the suggestion of 21st-century work songs in the stomp of the music. John Adamian,, "Imagine Dragons Coming To Xfinity Theater," 26 May 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about percussive

Share percussive

Statistics for percussive

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for percussive

The first known use of percussive was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for percussive



English Language Learners Definition of percussive

: of or relating to a percussion instrument or to the sounds that a percussion instrument makes

More from Merriam-Webster on percussive

See words that rhyme with percussive

Comments on percussive

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


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
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!