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[me-truh-nohm] /ˈmɛ trəˌnoʊm/
a mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sounds at an adjustable pace, used for marking rhythm, especially in practicing music.
Origin of metronome
1810-20; metro-1 + -nome < Greek nómos rule, law
Related forms
[me-truh-nom-ik] /ˌmɛ trəˈnɒm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
metronomical, adjective
metronomically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for metronomic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Only to those published since Maelzel's invention have the metronomic signs been affixed by Beethoven's own hand.

    Life of Beethoven Anton Schindler
  • Rhythm that was intricate pleased him more than the metronomic.

    Erik Dorn Ben Hecht
  • I enclose for the Philharmonic Society a metronomic list of the movements of my ninth Symphony.

  • He requested Beethoven to make notes upon paper regarding the metronomic marks of speed at which the composition should be played.

    Great Pianists on Piano Playing James Francis Cooke
  • From the metronomic indication found at the beginning of many compositions.

British Dictionary definitions for metronomic


a mechanical device which indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music by producing a clicking sound from a pendulum with an adjustable period of swing
Derived Forms
metronomic (ˌmɛtrəˈnɒmɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek metron measure + nomos rule, law
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 metronomic



mechanical musical time-keeper, 1815, coined in English from comb. form of Greek metron "measure" (see meter (n.2)) + -nomos "regulating," verbal adjective of nemein "to regulate" (see numismatics). The device invented 1815 by Johann Maelzel (1772-1838), German civil engineer and showman. Related: Metronomic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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