a style of Jamaican popular music blending blues, calypso, and rock-'n'-roll, characterized by a strong syncopated rhythm and lyrics of social protest.

< Jamaican English, respelling of reggay (introduced in the song “Do the Reggay” (1968) by Frederick “Toots” Hibbert), a dance name based on rege, *strege a dowdy or raggedy fellow; compare rege-rege ragged clothing, quarrel, row Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
reggae (ˈrɛɡeɪ)
a type of West Indian popular music having four beats to the bar, the upbeat being strongly accented
[C20: of West Indian origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1968, Jamaican Eng. (first in song title "Do the Reggay" by Toots & the Maytals), perhaps related to rege-rege "a quarrel, protest," lit. "ragged clothes," variant of raga-raga, alteration and reduplication of Eng. rag.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
reggae [(reg-ay)]

A form of pop music that originated in Jamaica, combining elements of calypso and rhythm and blues (see blues) with a strongly accentuated offbeat. Bob Marley was the first internationally known reggae musician.

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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Example sentences
The song's jaunty reggae beat, and a video composed entirely of happy people
  hugging soldiers, jars with reality.
He said they were the nicest guys, and he talked with them and smoked pot and
  sang reggae.
Reggae's evolution is told through music, extensive liner notes and
  track-by-track narratives.
Choose from jazz, reggae, soul or rhythm and blues to suit your tastes.
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