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[sing-kuh-pey-tid, sin-] /ˈsɪŋ kəˌpeɪ tɪd, ˈsɪn-/
marked by syncopation:
syncopated rhythm.
cut short; abbreviated.
Origin of syncopated
1655-65; < Late Latin syncopāt(us) (see syncopate) + -ed2
Related forms
unsyncopated, adjective


[sing-kuh-peyt, sin-] /ˈsɪŋ kəˌpeɪt, ˈsɪn-/
verb (used with object), syncopated, syncopating.
  1. to place (the accents) on beats that are normally unaccented.
  2. to treat (a passage, piece, etc.) in this way.
Grammar. to contract (a word) by omitting one or more sounds from the middle, as in reducing Gloucester to Gloster.
First recorded in 1595-1605, syncopate is from the Medieval Latin word syncopātus (past participle of syncopāre to shorten by syncope). See syncope, -ate1
Related forms
syncopator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for syncopated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The "time-step" and "break" must be perfectly timed to the syncopated rhythm.

  • He is about to give us something American: to sing and dance to syncopated melody.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke
  • If you can set his work to syncopated time he seems never to tire of it.

    The Railroad Problem

    Edward Hungerford
  • Upstairs a piano took up the refrain in a thin, syncopated echo.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • Every voice was independent, and syncopated as were the rhythms.

    Franz Liszt James Huneker
  • It was the same tune, curious, syncopated and piercing the night shrilly.

    The Shades of the Wilderness Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Tollan is but a syncopated form of Tonatlan, the Place of the Sun.

    American Hero-Myths Daniel G. Brinton
  • Let that which must be expressed of the rest be merged, syncopated in the largeness of the modulation.

  • It was the sound of a gramophone, harsh and loud, wheezing out a syncopated tune.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
British Dictionary definitions for syncopated


verb (transitive)
(music) to modify or treat (a beat, rhythm, note, etc) by syncopation
to shorten (a word) by omitting sounds or letters from the middle
Derived Forms
syncopator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin syncopāre to omit a letter or syllable, from Late Latin syncopasyncope
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 syncopated



c.1600, from Late Latin syncopatus, past participle of syncopare "to shorten," also "to faint away, to swoon," from Late Latin syncope (see syncope). Originally "to shorten words by omitting syllables or letters in the middle;" musical sense is from 1660s. Related: Syncopated; syncopating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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