syn·co·pa·tion | \ˌsiŋ-kə-ˈpā-shən, 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

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Other Words from syncopation

syncopative \ˈsiŋ-kə-ˌpā-tiv, ˈsin- \ adjective

Examples of syncopation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Conversations in Cantonese, Tagalog, English and Mandarin started and stopped in the same impatient syncopation. Jonathan Kauffman, San Francisco Chronicle, "In the chain-averse Bay Area, why are we so crazy for Asian restaurant chains?," 31 May 2018 The result was a rough-and-tumble rush in which melodic cross-currents and catch-up-if-you-can syncopations swallowed each other up. Marcus Overton,, "San Diego Symphony wraps up Masterworks series with an out-of-focus concert," 26 May 2018 To help answer the question, Applebaum envisioned all of music as a grid of squares, with each square denoting a kind of composition: music with lyrical melodies, music that emphasizes syncopation, or music using a quarter-tone system, for instance. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Generosity of Innovation," 28 June 2018 Bell’s massed voices negotiated their hairpin rhythmic turns, rapid-fire declamation and jazzy syncopations with remarkable precision at sometimes whiplash tempos, notably in the celebration after the king’s death. John Von Rhein,, "Grant Park Music Festival opens with a choral blockbuster under friendly skies," 14 June 2018 Apparent influences also include commercial graphic design, the flat and patterned color of Peruvian painter (and occasional muralist) Josué Sánchez Cerron and the aural syncopation of folk and popular music. Christopher Knight,, "'Made in L.A. 2018': Why the Hammer biennial is the right show for disturbing times," 5 June 2018 Stanley Gorbatkin’s career as an educator seems to have evolved in syncopation with his employer, Indian Prairie School District 204, over the last 30 years. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Retiring D204 assistant superintendent has seen district quadruple in size, go from old-school to high-tech," 25 May 2018 Popular music is more diverse and eclectic than ever, driven as much by synth musings and syncopation as power chords and soaring solos. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fall of Gibson: Where have all the guitar heroes gone?," 7 May 2018 Suits is like those series, only more so, its writing, directing, acting, and staging honed to a dapper syncopation. James Wolcott, HWD, "Confessions of a Suits Fan: Why the Legal Drama That Launched Meghan Markle Works," 27 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of syncopation

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for syncopation

The first known use of syncopation was in 1597

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English Language Learners Definition of syncopation

music : musical rhythm in which stress is given to the weak beats instead of the strong beats


syn·co·pa·tion | \ˌsiŋ-kə-ˈpā-shən \

Kids Definition of syncopation

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

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Comments on syncopation

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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