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[fyoog] /fyug/
Music. a polyphonic composition based upon one, two, or more themes, which are enunciated by several voices or parts in turn, subjected to contrapuntal treatment, and gradually built up into a complex form having somewhat distinct divisions or stages of development and a marked climax at the end.
Psychiatry. a period during which a person suffers from loss of memory, often begins a new life, and, upon recovery, remembers nothing of the amnesic phase.
1590-1600; < French < Italian fuga < Latin: flight
Related forms
fuguelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fugue
  • Dissociative fugue or dissociative amnesia is a rare but intriguing emotional disorder.
  • Maybe novelists can go into some kind of fugue state while they're writing and it's enjoyable.
  • Even in this fugue of misery, they understand and accept the situation.
  • Hung together, my art made for a kind of fugue in which each painting is a variation on a basic theme.
  • All night the wind played its wild fugue, dropping to pianissimo lulls, then rising to frenetic crescendos.
  • Not only does he have absolute pitch, he is able to get the structure of a fugue.
  • In this sense, fugue is a style of composition, rather than fixed structure.
  • The fugue is for keyboard and in three voices, with regular countersubjects.
British Dictionary definitions for fugue


a musical form consisting essentially of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below the continuing first statement
(psychiatry) a dreamlike altered state of consciousness, lasting from a few hours to several days, during which a person loses his or her memory for his or her previous life and often wanders away from home
Derived Forms
fuguelike, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Italian fuga, from Latin: a running away, flight
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 fugue

1590s, fuge, from Italian fuga "ardor," literally "flight," from Latin fuga "act of fleeing," from fugere "to flee" (see fugitive). Current spelling (1660s) is from the French version of the Italian word.

A Fugue is a composition founded upon one subject, announced at first in one part alone, and subsequently imitated by all the other parts in turn, according to certain general principles to be hereafter explained. The name is derived from the Latin word fuga, a flight, from the idea that one part starts on its course alone, and that those which enter later are pursuing it. ["Fugue," Ebenezer Prout, 1891]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fugue in Medicine

fugue (fyōōg)
A pathological amnesiac condition that may persist for several months and usually results from severe mental stress, in which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fugue in Technology

language, music
A music language implemented in Xlisp.
["Fugue: A Functional Language for Sound Synthesis", R.B. Dannenberg et al, Computer 24(7):36-41 (Jul 1991)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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