[ sing-kuh-pey-shuhn, sin- ]

  1. Music. a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats.

  2. something, as a rhythm or a passage of music, that is syncopated.

  1. Also called counterpoint, counterpoint rhythm. Prosody. the use of rhetorical stress at variance with the metrical stress of a line of verse, as the stress on and and of in Come praise Colonus' horses and come praise/The wine-dark of the wood's intricacies.

  2. Grammar. syncope.

Origin of syncopation

1525–35; <Medieval Latin syncopātiōn- (stem of syncopātiō), equivalent to Late Latin syncopāt(us) (see syncopate) + -iōn--ion

Other words from syncopation

  • non·syn·co·pa·tion, noun

Words Nearby syncopation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use syncopation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for syncopation


/ (ˌsɪŋkəˈpeɪʃən) /

  1. music

    • the displacement of the usual rhythmic accent away from a strong beat onto a weak beat

    • a note, beat, rhythm, etc, produced by syncopation

  2. another word for syncope (def. 2)

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