Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To improvise and deliver extemporaneously.
  • intransitive v. To engage in improvisation, as during delivery of a speech.
  • n. Words, music, or actions uttered, performed, or carried out extemporaneously.
  • adj. Uttered, performed, or carried out spontaneously. See Synonyms at extemporaneous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To improvise all or part of a speech or other performance, especially in comedy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. with little or no preparation or forethought
  • adj. said or done without having been planned or written in advance
  • v. perform without preparation
  • n. remark made spontaneously without prior preparation

Etymologies

From ad lib. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He tried his trademark joking, sputtering an ad-lib about eating too much barbecue but his head bobbed under the strain, and his thin neck muscles stretched and strained in the light.

    Grand Heads for America: A Fable of Exceptionalism

  • There was always room to ad-lib lines with the court and each other, but we all knew where we were going, and what was supposed to happen on the field.

    Brian Ruckley · Interview with the Knight

  • When Fred refused to change the script to accommodate me, or even to allow me to rewrite it, the director said that I could ad-lib some lines that were not as sexually debasing as what was on the page in a scene with the actor who was portraying my husband, the amazing Mr. Gary Busey.

    Roseanne Archy

  • Gary, thinking he was free of the confines of the script, did not really understand what “ad-lib some character lines” meant, and in every take he portrayed a different character altogether, including a six-year-old child.

    Roseanne Archy

  • I start each day with an ad-lib full-facial and then I go out nicking cars.

    Oogy Wawa

  • "His opening ad-lib quieting thunderous applause - 'It's still just me' - should be an instructional moment in public behavior in our celebrity culture."

    Morning Bits

  • Nick Reid, the Mississippi-delta repo-man hero of Rick Gavin's first book, "Ranchero," would never be mistaken for the archetypal PI, but he fulfills assignments with all the ad-lib panache of Robert Parker's Spenser or Raymond Chandler's Marlowe.

    And Then There Were Ten

  • What I'd love is to find out that his line was a complete ad-lib that Robbins didn't know was coming.

    A cynical satirical thriller with a heart

  • That Ed Miliband: if only he didn't look a nerd; if only he learnt to ad-lib better at PMQs, Labour would be in better nick.

    Ed Miliband: Keep calm and carry on?

  • The seer's attention skips here and there and often stumbles into an uncensored ad-lib.

    First Contact

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.