syn·​co·​pa·​tion | \ ˌsiŋ-kə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce syncopation (audio) , ˌsin- \

Definition of syncopation

1 : a temporary displacement of the regular metrical accent in music caused typically by stressing the weak beat
2 : a syncopated rhythm, passage, or dance step

Other Words from syncopation

syncopative \ ˈsiŋ-​kə-​ˌpā-​tiv How to pronounce syncopation (audio) , ˈsin-​ \ adjective

Examples of syncopation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Foot percussion underpinned all that, the constant that every syncopation pulled against. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 Then the track lightens up a little with some comforting Wurlitzer electric piano, then leans into Daru Jones funkily taking his syncopation out on the rims of his drums. Chris Willman, Variety, 8 Apr. 2022 Unique to dembow is also how the music is danced, which clearly draws from footwork inherent to juke, syncopation in breakdancing, and afrobeats movement. Marjua Estevez,, 24 Mar. 2022 Couples danced with synchronized syncopation, huddling close before separating in elaborate spins and fancy footwork. J. Lester Feder, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2022 Ragtime goes wrong from the opening credits when Forman skips Scott Joplin syncopation for a loony Twyla Tharp waltz. Armond White, National Review, 12 Nov. 2021 His namesake outfit draws in stanzas from the epic of 20th century blues and R&B, accented with Latin jazz and the pitter-patter syncopation of adroit hands rapping the congas. Nathan Rizzo | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 1 Nov. 2021 Her no-nonsense delivery, the popping syncopation, the playfully funky bassline and that brilliantly bizarre baby chirp pull together to create a song that not only defined the late ‘90s, but continues to chart a course for the future. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 25 Aug. 2021 Whether clad in leather while lying atop a vintage convertible, reclining on the iron throne of some subterranean hideaway or slinking along to Timbaland’s hypnotic syncopation in an all-white room, Aaliyah had an incomparable allure. Julian Kimble, Essence, 25 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'syncopation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of syncopation

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of syncopation was in 1597

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Dictionary Entries Near syncopation

syncopated perforation



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Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Syncopation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for syncopation


syn·​co·​pa·​tion | \ ˌsiŋ-kə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce syncopation (audio) \

Kids Definition of syncopation

: an instance of temporarily accenting a normally weak beat in music to vary the rhythm

More from Merriam-Webster on syncopation

Nglish: Translation of syncopation for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about syncopation


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