Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[im-prov-uh-zey-shuh n, im-pruh-vuh-] /ɪmˌprɒv əˈzeɪ ʃən, ˌɪm prə və-/
the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation:
Musical improvisation involves imagination and creativity.
something improvised:
The actor's improvisation in Act II was both unexpected and amazing.
Origin of improvisation
First recorded in 1780-90; improvise + -ation
Related forms
improvisational, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for improvisation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The King requested the improvisation of a fugue in six parts, which the master did to the astonishment of all present.

    How the Piano Came to Be Ellye Howell Glover
  • His knack of improvisation he at all times exercised freely.

    Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay George Otto Trevelyan
  • Indeed, what melody, unless it be a reminiscence, is not an improvisation?

    The Life of Rossini Henry Sutherland Edwards
  • The one way in which he certainly did not produce literature was by improvisation.

    The Bibliotaph Leon H. Vincent
  • His second stream of improvisation had a still more powerful effect, and the audience again tumultuously recalled him.

British Dictionary definitions for improvisation


the act or an instance of improvising
a product of improvising; something improvised
Derived Forms
improvisational, improvisatory (ˌɪmprəˈvaɪzətərɪ; -ˈvɪz-; ˌɪmprəvaɪˈzeɪtərɪ; -trɪ) adjective
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for improvisation

mid-15c., "unforeseen happening;" 1786 as "act of improvising musically," from French improvisation, from improviser "compose or say extemporaneously," from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso "unforeseen, unprepared," from Latin improvisus "not foreseen, unforeseen, unexpected," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + provisus "foreseen," also "provided," past participle of providere "foresee, provide" (see provide).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for improvisation

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for improvisation

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for improvisation