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beat time

Mark musical time by beating a drum, clapping, tapping the foot, or a similar means. For example, Even as a baby, Dave always beat time when he heard music. [ Late 1600s ]
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for beat time
Historical Examples
  • "What the English like is something that they can beat time to," said Handel to Gluck.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • When they got near shore, they all began to dance, clapping their hands to beat time.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman
  • She was dancing rather than walking, and with her left hand she beat time to the music.

    Novel Notes Jerome K. Jerome
  • The eight strained forward, and the coxswain began to beat time.

    Ruth Fielding At College Alice B. Emerson
  • Whether, as is asserted, he beat time with his foot, I cannot say.

  • Rose beat time for her sister mockingly, and they answered in singsong.

    Otherwise Phyllis Meredith Nicholson
  • His hand being raised to beat time, she could not withstand the signal.

    Sandra Belloni, Complete George Meredith
  • The hoof-strokes of the mare seemed to beat time to the verse.

    Lone Pine

    R. B. (Richard Baxter) Townshend
  • She beat time to it with her finger-tips on the side of the buggy.

  • They beat time to a silence almost tragical in its intensity.

    The Hillman E. Phillips Oppenheim

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