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See more synonyms for metronome on Thesaurus.com
  1. a mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sounds at an adjustable pace, used for marking rhythm, especially in practicing music.
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Origin of metronome

1810–20; metro-1 + -nome < Greek nómos rule, law
Related formsmet·ro·nom·ic [me-truh-nom-ik] /ˌmɛ trəˈnɒm ɪk/, met·ro·nom·i·cal, adjectivemet·ro·nom·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for metronome

Historical Examples

  • The metronome indication, found at the beginning of most modern scores.

    Essentials in Conducting

    Karl Wilson Gehrkens

  • And now the Wyvern swung it back and forth in a metronome sweep.

    Storm Over Warlock

    Andre Norton

  • The metronome is not expensive to put up; it costs 16 at the most.

  • The sense of time deserted him when the metronome of heartbeat died.


    George Oliver Smith

  • The simplest form is the tick-tick-tick of a watch or metronome.

British Dictionary definitions for metronome


  1. a mechanical device which indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music by producing a clicking sound from a pendulum with an adjustable period of swing
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Derived Formsmetronomic (ˌmɛtrəˈnɒmɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek metron measure + nomos rule, law
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 metronome


mechanical musical time-keeper, 1815, coined in English from comb. form of Greek metron "measure" (see meter (n.2)) + -nomos "regulating," verbal adjective of nemein "to regulate" (see numismatics). The device invented 1815 by Johann Maelzel (1772-1838), German civil engineer and showman. Related: Metronomic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper