[ fyoog ]
See synonyms for fugue on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.

  2. Psychiatry. a period during which a person experiences loss of memory, often begins a new life, and, upon recovery, remembers nothing of the amnesic phase.

Origin of fugue

First recorded in 1590–1600; from French, from Italian fuga, from Latin: “flight”

Other words from fugue

  • fugue·like, adjective

Words Nearby fugue

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fugue in a sentence

  • Green, however, said: “They can no more be separated than the voices of a fugue.”

  • The guy showed up with a giant bottle of OxyContin that he had stolen from his mother and I slipped right back into a fugue state.

    Confessions of a Pill Head | Joshua Lyon | July 10, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The sonnet is a sort of poetical fugue in which the theme ought to pass and repass until its final resolution in a given form.

    Charles Baudelaire, His Life | Thophile Gautier
  • I went down to the little parlor and tried the fugue on the piano, but could not remember the portion in question.

    Piano Mastery | Harriette Brower
  • The music of the four-part fugue entered into him more deeply, and he began to hum its little phrases.

    The Longest Journey | E. M. Forster
  • But like the theme in a fugue this loud tranquil recurrent need to Express me transcends them all.

    I, Mary MacLane | Mary MacLane
  • It is customary to describe the music as a fugue, and, if that is so, no more unfugue-like fugue was ever penned.

    Richard Wagner | John F. Runciman

British Dictionary definitions for fugue


/ (fjuːɡ) /

  1. a musical form consisting essentially of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below the continuing first statement

  2. 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

Origin of fugue

C16: from French, from Italian fuga, from Latin: a running away, flight

Derived forms of fugue

  • fuguelike, 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