rag·​time | \ ˈrag-ˌtīm How to pronounce ragtime (audio) \

Definition of ragtime

1 : rhythm characterized by strong syncopation in the melody with a regularly accented accompaniment in stride-piano style
2 : music having ragtime rhythm

Examples of ragtime in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As a child in Ferguson, Mo., Mr. McDonald played banjo to accompany his father, who used to sing Tin Pan Alley and ragtime songs, before moving on to keyboards and Top 40 cover bands. Alan Paul, WSJ, "Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers Is a Modest Superstar," 25 Dec. 2020 The jazzy ragtime style was overtaken by folkier, acoustic guitar variants such as country blues and Delta blues, ushering in the likes of Robert Johnson. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Women created the blues. Now they are taking it back.," 4 Nov. 2020 Growing up in the 1970s, my peers were not buying ragtime hits from the 1920s. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: The Beatles top charts again as our greatest (and perhaps only) cultural connector," 4 Nov. 2019 The singing of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' music — a period-sounding mix of parlor songs, Jewish folk music and, of course, ragtime — is strong; the acting of Terrence McNally's script is riveting. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Review: Small theaters think big with ‘Ragtime’ at the Chance and ‘The Producers’ at Celebration," 11 July 2019 Her fetish for vinyl records ranged from early ragtime blues to rare and obscure rock en español. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Affairs: I was into her. But she was into playing games.," 31 Aug. 2019 Performances can include jazz, ragtime, folk, classical or — as happened when a group of visiting Fulbright scholars stumbled in — the Ukrainian national song. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Their music was ready to spill out. All they needed was a piano.," 27 July 2019 From jazz to bluegrass, country to ragtime, hip-hop to barbershop quartets, the celebration of music as a boundary-breaking, uplifting art was the focus of the street festival. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "American Music Celebrated At Putnam’s First Friday," 17 June 2019 Gregory Hines won best actor in a musical for playing ragtime and jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton in Jelly's Last Jam (1992). Paul Grein, Billboard, "9 Actors Who Have Won Tonys for Portraying Real-Life Music Stars," 9 June 2019

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

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ragtime

probably from ragged + time

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Time Traveler for ragtime

Time Traveler

The first known use of ragtime was in 1896

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Statistics for ragtime

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ragtime.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ragtime. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ragtime

: a type of lively music that is often played on the piano and that was very popular in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century


rag·​time | \ ˈrag-ˌtīm How to pronounce ragtime (audio) \

Kids Definition of ragtime

: music that has a lively melody and a steady rhythm like a march

More from Merriam-Webster on ragtime

Nglish: Translation of ragtime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ragtime

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