[ roo-bah-toh; Italian roo-bah-taw ]
/ ruˈbɑ toʊ; Italian ruˈbɑ tɔ /


having certain notes arbitrarily lengthened while others are correspondingly shortened, or vice versa.

noun, plural ru·ba·tos, ru·ba·ti [roo-bah-tee; Italian roo-bah-tee] /ruˈbɑ ti; Italian ruˈbɑ ti/.

a rubato phrase or passage.
a rubato performance.


in a rubato manner.

Origin of rubato

1880–85; < Italian (tempo) rubato stolen (time), past participle of rubare to steal < Germanic; see rob Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rubato

British Dictionary definitions for rubato

/ (ruːˈbɑːtəʊ) music /

noun plural -tos

flexibility of tempo in performance

adjective, adverb

to be played with a flexible tempo

Word Origin for rubato

C19: from the Italian phrase tempo rubato, literally: stolen time, from rubare to rob
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