down-beat

downbeat

[doun-beet]
noun Music.
1.
the downward stroke of a conductor's arm or baton indicating the first or accented beat of a measure.
2.
the first beat of a measure.
adjective
3.
gloomy or depressing; pessimistic: Hollywood movies seldom have downbeat endings.

Origin:
1875–80; down1 + beat (noun)

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World English Dictionary
downbeat (ˈdaʊnˌbiːt)
 
n
1.  music Compare upbeat the first beat of a bar or the downward gesture of a conductor's baton indicating this
 
adj
2.  informal depressed; gloomy
3.  informal relaxed; unemphatic

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

downbeat
1876, in ref. to downward stroke of a conductor's baton; 1952 in fig. sense of "pessimistic," but probably just from the association of the word down, since the beat itself is no more pessimistic than the upbeat (q.v.) is optimistic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

downbeat definition


  1. mod.
    cool; easygoing. (Compare this with upbeat.) : He is sort of a downbeat character—no stress.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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