the striking of one body against another with some sharpness; impact; blow.
Medicine/Medical. the striking or tapping of the surface of a part of the body for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
the striking of a musical instrument to produce tones.
the section of an orchestra or band comprising the percussion instruments.
the percussion instruments themselves.
a sharp blow for detonating a percussion cap or the fuze of an artillery shell.
the striking of sound on the ear.
the act of percussing.

1535–45; < Latin percussiōn- (stem of percussiō) a beating. See percuss, -ion

percussional, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
percussion (pəˈkʌʃən)
1.  the act, an instance, or an effect of percussing
2.  music the family of instruments in which sound arises from the striking of materials with sticks, hammers, or the hands
3.  music
 a.  instruments of this family constituting a section of an orchestra, band, etc
 b.  (as modifier): a percussion ensemble
4.  med the act of percussing a body surface
5.  the act of exploding a percussion cap
[C16: from Latin percussiō, from percutere to hit; see percuss]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1544, "a striking, a blow," from L. percussionem (nom. percussio), from percussus, pp. of percutere "to strike," from per- "through" + quatere "to strike, shake." Reference to musical instruments is first recorded 1776. Percussionist "player of a percussion instrument" is recorded from 1950.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

percussion per·cus·sion (pər-kŭsh'ən)
A method of medical diagnosis in which various areas of the body, especially the chest, back, and abdomen, are tapped with the finger or a plexor to determine by resonance the condition of internal organs.

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

percussion definition

A family of musical instruments played by striking their surfaces. Percussion instruments are used to accentuate and dramatize certain notes or rhythms and include instruments such as cymbals, drums, triangles, and xylophones. (See kettledrum, snare drum, and orchestra.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in medicine, diagnostic procedure that entails striking the body directly or indirectly with short, sharp taps of a finger or, rarely, a hammer. The procedure was first described in 1761 by the Austrian physician Leopold Auenbrugger von Auenbrugg. Although generally ignored by his contemporaries, it is now routinely employed. The sounds produced by the procedure are helpful in determining the size and position of various internal organs, in revealing the presence of fluid or air in the chest, and in aiding in the diagnosis of certain lung disorders.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Brown decided to string together songs and percussion so that the dance beat
  never stopped.
In the background is the incongruous yet constant beat of a percussion section
  on the building's roof.
And the vinyl's grooves poured out soulful singers, playful highlife
  guitarists, and tasty local percussion.
Rhythmic percussion and dance probably are earlier examples of social bonding
  than language.
Image for percussion
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