American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To invent, compose, or perform with little or no preparation.
- v. To play or sing (music) extemporaneously, especially by inventing variations on a melody or creating new melodies in accordance with a set progression of chords.
- v. To make or provide from available materials: improvised a dinner from what I found in the refrigerator.
- v. To invent, compose, or perform something extemporaneously.
- v. To improvise music.
- v. To make do with whatever materials are at hand.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To compose and recite or sing without premeditation; speak or perform extemporaneously, especially verse or music.
- To do or perform anything on the spur of the moment for a special occasion; contrive or bring about in an offhand way.
- To compose verses or music extemporaneously; hence, to do anything on the spur of the moment or in an offhand way.
- v. To make something up or invent it as one goes on; to proceed guided only by imagination, instinct, and guesswork rather than by a careful plan.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To compose, recite, or sing extemporaneously, especially in verse; to extemporize; also, to play upon an instrument, or to act, extemporaneously.
- v. To bring about, arrange, do, or make, immediately or on short notice, without previous preparation and with no known precedent as a guide.
- v. To invent, or provide, offhand, or on the spur of the moment.
- v. To produce or render extemporaneous compositions, especially in verse or in music, without previous preparation; hence, to do anything offhand.
- v. perform without preparation
- v. manage in a makeshift way; do with whatever is at hand
- French improviser, from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso, unforeseen, from Latin imprōvīsus : in-, not; see in-1 + prōvīsus, past participle of prōvidēre, to foresee; see provide. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“That was - that's actually more fun to me, because in live concerts what we do is we take the material that we composed for the recording and we stretch it out and we improvise, which is what brings joy to both of us.”
“At one point he was bold enough to ask his audience to toss him a word to improvise a rap on.”
“TO IMPROVISE or not to improvise, that is the question.”
“The one good thing about this movie is that we can "improvise" our lines and actions, since there is no defined director except the Almighty.”
“That's right: send Nagin up to the microphone and tell him to "improvise" for ten minutes and I promise you he'll make national headlines!”
“He testified "that he had cut the thiopental [the drug that renders a person unconscious] dosage he gave inmates by half because a change in drug packaging forced him to 'improvise'.”
“Somewhere I read I think in EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS that Hal Ashby was allegedly stoned throughout the whole shoot, letting the actors "improvise" their dialogue.”
“I know you had to just kind of improvise a little bit.”
“Sometimes I just kind of improvise," she said, "and asking for the money Tom supposedly owed me lent a little more credence to my story, don't you think?”
“In the meantime I continued to construct and "improvise" in an attempt to avert the worst of the evils.”
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