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[me-truh-nohm] /ˈmɛ trəˌnoʊm/
a mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sounds at an adjustable pace, used for marking rhythm, especially in practicing music.
1810-20; metro-1 + -nome < Greek nómos rule, law
Related forms
[me-truh-nom-ik] /ˌmɛ trəˈnɒm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
metronomical, adjective
metronomically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for metronome
  • Then it is as if the offense were moving to the beat of a metronome.
  • Once you have that down, you can improve your speed and consistency by playing to a metronome.
  • The drummer, a skinny hipster with fuzzy sideburns, is as steady as a metronome.
  • They overthrow him and replace him with a giant metronome whose reign lasts only a few minutes before it is physically destroyed.
  • In the center, an ancient clock whose tick acts as the metronome for the sound of their high voices.
British Dictionary definitions for metronome


a mechanical device which indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music by producing a clicking sound from a pendulum with an adjustable period of swing
Derived Forms
metronomic (ˌmɛtrəˈnɒmɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek metron measure + nomos rule, law
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for metronome

mechanical musical time-keeper, 1815, coined in English from comb. form of Greek metron "measure" (see meter (n.2)) + -nomos "regulating," verbal adjective of nemein "to regulate" (see numismatics). The device invented 1815 by Johann Maelzel (1772-1838), German civil engineer and showman. Related: Metronomic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for metronome

instrument for marking musical tempo, erroneously ascribed to the German Johann Nepomuk Maelzel (1772-1838) but actually invented by a Dutch competitor, Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel (c. 1776-1826). It consists of a pendulum swung on a pivot and actuated by a hand-wound clockwork whose escapement (a motion-controlling device) makes a ticking sound as the wheel passes a pallet. Below the pivot there is a fixed weight; above it, a sliding weight. A scale of numbers indicates how many oscillations per minute occur when the sliding weight is moved to a given point on the pendulum. Thus, the notation "M.M. (Maelzel's metronome) = 60" indicates that at 60 oscillations per minute the half note will receive one beat. The conventional metronome is housed in a pyramidal case. Pocket and electric metronomes are also made. Metronomes have occasionally been used as musical instruments, e.g., by the Hungarian Gyorgy Ligeti (Poeme symphonique, 1962, for 100 metronomes).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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