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downbeat

[doun-beet] /ˈdaʊnˌbit/
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
1875-1880
1875-80; down1 + beat (noun)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for downbeat
  • The proceedings are all off the record, but the mood is downbeat.
  • Suddenly the headlines were downbeat, and pundits were pontificating about the political implications of a stalled labor market.
  • But this downbeat aftermath is underplayed to prolong the misty-eyed sentimentality.
  • Critics may sneer, but it's impossible to do this sort of thing unless you have an almost perfect downbeat in your head.
British Dictionary definitions for downbeat

downbeat

/ˈdaʊnˌbiːt/
noun
1.
(music) the first beat of a bar or the downward gesture of a conductor's baton indicating this Compare upbeat
adjective
2.
(informal) depressed; gloomy
3.
(informal) relaxed; unemphatic
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
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Word Origin and History for downbeat

1876 (n.), in reference to downward stroke of a conductor's baton; 1952 (adj.) in figurative sense of "pessimistic," but that is probably via associations of the word down (adv.), because the beat itself is no more pessimistic than the upbeat is optimistic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for downbeat

downbeat

adjective

Depressing; pessimistic: a triumph of upbeat pictures over the downbeat

[1950s+; fr the downbeat of an orchestra leader's hand or baton, taken as the direction of dejection]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Difficulty index for downbeat

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Word Value for downbeat

14
16
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