- the downward stroke of a conductor's arm or baton indicating the first or accented beat of a measure.
- the first beat of a measure.
- gloomy or depressing; pessimistic: Hollywood movies seldom have downbeat endings.
Origin of downbeat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for downbeat
Why did the Russian Ministry of Culture help to finance such a downbeat portrait of contemporary Russia?Inside ‘Leviathan’: Russian Filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Award-Winning Anti-Putin Cannes Film
May 27, 2014
Most affecting is his romance with a cute, downbeat girl inmate named Andrea.Must-Read Debuts
October 22, 2010
Full of lively, comic storytelling and resonant in theme—youth ends; how sad—it casts a downbeat and very of-the-moment mood.Gen-X's Midlife Crisis Continues
July 12, 2010
Stanley Crouch's culture pieces have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times, Vogue, Downbeat, the New Yorker, and more.Ladies’ Night
March 29, 2009
Stanley Crouch's culture pieces have appeared in Harper's, the New York Times, Vogue, Downbeat, the New Yorker, and more.White House Race War
February 27, 2009
- music the first beat of a bar or the downward gesture of a conductor's baton indicating thisCompare upbeat
- informal depressed; gloomy
- informal relaxed; unemphatic
Word Origin and History for downbeat
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper