• synonyms


[sing-kuh-pey-shuh n, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Grammar. syncope.
Show More

Origin of syncopation

1525–35; < Medieval Latin syncopātiōn- (stem of syncopātiō), equivalent to Late Latin syncopāt(us) (see syncopate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsnon·syn·co·pa·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for syncopation

Historical Examples of syncopation

  • And over all the American jazz music boomed and whanged its syncopation.


    Edna Ferber

  • One may do worse than compare it with the Syrian syncopation of and ' in Bion's Adonis.


    Ezra Pound

  • His heart beat with syncopation when he rose at the first note of music.

  • Are you in favour of the establishment of a Ministry for the Control of Syncopation?

  • The result is an effect of syncopation which is peculiarly forceful.

    How to Listen to Music, 7th ed.

    Henry Edward Krehbiel

British Dictionary definitions for syncopation


  1. music
    1. the displacement of the usual rhythmic accent away from a strong beat onto a weak beat
    2. a note, beat, rhythm, etc, produced by syncopation
  2. another word for syncope (def. 2)
Show More
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 syncopation


1530s, "contraction of a word by omission of middle sounds," from Medieval Latin syncopationem (nominative syncopatio) "a shortening or contraction," from syncopare "to shorten," also "to faint away, to swoon," from Late Latin syncope (see syncope). Musical sense is attested from 1590s.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper