[sing-kuh-pey-shuhn, sin-]
Music. a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats.
something, as a rhythm or a passage of music, that is syncopated.
Also called counterpoint, counterpoint rhythm. Prosody. the use of rhetorical stress at variance with the metrical stress of a line of verse, as the stress on and and of in Come praise Colonus' horses and come praise/The wine-dark of the wood's intricacies.
Grammar, syncope.

1525–35; < Medieval Latin syncopātiōn- (stem of syncopātiō), equivalent to Late Latin syncopāt(us) (see syncopate) + -iōn- -ion

nonsyncopation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To syncopation
World English Dictionary
syncopation (ˌsɪŋkəˈpeɪʃən)
1.  music
 a.  the displacement of the usual rhythmic accent away from a strong beat onto a weak beat
 b.  a note, beat, rhythm, etc, produced by syncopation
2.  another word for syncope

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1532, "contraction of a word by omission of middle sounds," from M.L. syncopationem (nom. syncopatio) "a shortening or contraction," from syncopare "to shorten," also "to faint away, to swoon," from L.L. syncope (see syncope). Musical sense is attested from 1597.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


in music, the displacement of regular accents associated with given metrical patterns, resulting in a disruption of the listener's expectations and the arousal of a desire for the reestablishment of metric normality; hence the characteristic "forward drive" of highly syncopated music. Syncopation may be effected by accenting normally weak beats in a measure, by resting on a normal accented beat, or by tying over a note to the next measure

Learn more about syncopation with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
So far it is straightforward, with an occasional distracting filigree or sneaky
He also plays at ragtime festivals, and gives concerts almost anywhere lovers
  of syncopation gather.
The study appears to be about whether people find syncopation surprising.
Aficionados can spot it by its syncopation and rhythmic complexity, with the
  rhythm articulated by the entire body.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature