Definition of offbeat in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôfˌbēt/
1 Music Not coinciding with the beat.
Example sentences
  • It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section.
  • Sometimes Schumann would destroy my case by perpetrating a lengthy passage of manic offbeat accompaniment such as occurs twice in the first movement of No 3.
  • Between the offbeat strum, subterranean bass and rock-steady drumming, they leave gaps that other bands would nervously clutter with ephemera.
2 informal Unconventional; unusual: she’s a little offbeat, but she’s a wonderful actress
More example sentences
  • This cinema at that time showed very offbeat and unusual films.
  • The humor is offbeat and unconventional, but much of it is funny.
  • Dr. Seuss has been one of the most unusual and offbeat children's authors in literature.


Pronunciation: /ˈôfˌbēt/
Any of the normally unaccented beats in a bar.
Example sentences
  • McDowell's guitar playing on these songs was all about rhythm, a distinctive syncopated chug that emphasized the offbeats and often stayed on a single chord.
  • The drum machine offbeats are still present, but instead of snarky basslines and slow grinds, the song features a wistfully high organ stomp, and shifting tempos throughout.
  • This is all to say nothing of the beautiful, ever-rising backing that threads through the song; present in the verse, when the horns come in full-force on the offbeats.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: off·beat

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