1. a mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sounds at an adjustable pace, used for marking rhythm, especially in practicing music.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for metronomic

Contemporary Examples of metronomic

Historical Examples of metronomic

  • Rhythm that was intricate pleased him more than the metronomic.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • I enclose for the Philharmonic Society a metronomic list of the movements of my ninth Symphony.

  • He requested Beethoven to make notes upon paper regarding the metronomic marks of speed at which the composition should be played.

  • From the metronomic indication found at the beginning of many compositions.

  • Only to those published since Maelzel's invention have the metronomic signs been affixed by Beethoven's own hand.

    Life of Beethoven

    Anton Schindler

British Dictionary definitions for metronomic


  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
Derived Formsmetronomic (ˌmɛtrəˈnɒmɪk), adjective

Word Origin for metronome

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 metronomic



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper