• synonyms


[im-prov-uh-zey-shuh n, im-pruh-vuh-]
  1. the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation: Musical improvisation involves imagination and creativity.
  2. something improvised: The actor's improvisation in Act II was both unexpected and amazing.
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Origin of improvisation

First recorded in 1780–90; improvise + -ation
Related formsim·prov·i·sa·tion·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for improvisational


  1. the act or an instance of improvising
  2. a product of improvising; something improvised
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Derived Formsimprovisational or improvisatory (ˌɪmprəˈvaɪzətərɪ, -ˈvɪz-, ˌɪmprəvaɪˈzeɪtərɪ, -trɪ), 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

Word Origin and History for improvisational


1879; see improvisation + -al (1).

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mid-15c., "unforeseen happening;" 1786 as "act of improvising musically," from French improvisation, from improviser "compose or say extemporaneously," from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso "unforeseen, unprepared," from Latin improvisus "not foreseen, unforeseen, unexpected," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + provisus "foreseen," also "provided," past participle of providere "foresee, provide" (see provide).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper