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[fyoog] /fyug/
Music. a polyphonic composition based upon one, two, or more themes, which are enunciated by several voices or parts in turn, subjected to contrapuntal treatment, and gradually built up into a complex form having somewhat distinct divisions or stages of development and a marked climax at the end.
Psychiatry. a period during which a person suffers from loss of memory, often begins a new life, and, upon recovery, remembers nothing of the amnesic phase.
Origin of fugue
1590-1600; < French < Italian fuga < Latin: flight
Related forms
fuguelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fugue
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And now it was no longer a fugue of sounds—it was a fugue of all sensations.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • She doesn't know a fugue from a bass viol, and she never hesitates to say so.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • The pianist made no sign, having reached the fugue following the prelude.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • No, Willis never knew any music, and yet he had a good taste, and loved a fugue.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • So should the passion-music close, and not with fugue of praise and triumph like an oratorio.

    The Standard Oratorios George P. Upton
  • Instantly came the reply, "I am very glad I don't look like a fugue."

    Woman's Work in Music Arthur Elson
  • And what was played was a fugue—though Petya had not the least conception of what a fugue is.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for fugue


a musical form consisting essentially of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below the continuing first statement
(psychiatry) a dreamlike altered state of consciousness, lasting from a few hours to several days, during which a person loses his or her memory for his or her previous life and often wanders away from home
Derived Forms
fuguelike, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Italian fuga, from Latin: a running away, flight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fugue

1590s, fuge, from Italian fuga "ardor," literally "flight," from Latin fuga "act of fleeing," from fugere "to flee" (see fugitive). Current spelling (1660s) is from the French version of the Italian word.

A Fugue is a composition founded upon one subject, announced at first in one part alone, and subsequently imitated by all the other parts in turn, according to certain general principles to be hereafter explained. The name is derived from the Latin word fuga, a flight, from the idea that one part starts on its course alone, and that those which enter later are pursuing it. ["Fugue," Ebenezer Prout, 1891]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fugue in Medicine

fugue (fyōōg)
A pathological amnesiac condition that may persist for several months and usually results from severe mental stress, in which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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