[ hem-ee-oh-luh ]
/ ˌhɛm iˈoʊ lə /

noun Music.

a rhythmic pattern of syncopated beats with two beats in the time of three or three beats in the time of two.


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Origin of hemiola

1590–1600; < Medieval Latin hēmiolia < Greek hēmiolía the ratio of one and a half to one, feminine of hēmiolíos half as large again, equivalent to hēmi- hemi- + (h)ól(os) whole + -ios adj. suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for hemiola

  • Music aficionados recognize this rhythm as a triplet or “hemiola”: the playing of two different musical patterns simultaneously.

    The Goldilocks of Black Holes|Matthew R. Francis|August 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST

British Dictionary definitions for hemiola



/ (ˌhɛmɪˈəʊlə) /


music a rhythmic device involving the superimposition of, for example, two notes in the time of threeAlso called: sesquialtera

Derived forms of hemiola

hemiolic (ˌhɛmɪˈɒlɪk), adjective

Word Origin for hemiola

New Latin, from Greek hēmiolia ratio of one to one and a half, from hemi- + (h) olos whole
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