Definition of reggae in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɛɡeɪ/


[mass noun]
A style of popular music with a strongly accented subsidiary beat, originating in Jamaica. Reggae evolved in the late 1960s from ska and other local variations on calypso and rhythm and blues, and became widely known in the 1970s through the work of Bob Marley; its lyrics are much influenced by Rastafarian ideas.
Example sentences
  • Smith grew up with gospel and reggae; Bob Marley and Yellowman in particular.
  • Its greatest exponent was Bob Marley who took reggae to a worldwide audience.
  • The boys like soul music and reggae - Aretha Franklin, Desmond Dekker, Marvin Gaye.


1960s: perhaps related to Jamaican English rege-rege 'quarrel, row'.

  • This word for a popular style of music with a strongly accented subsidiary beat may be related to Jamaican English rege-rege ‘quarrel, row’. At one time reggae was strongly associated with Rastafarians (mid 20th century). They got their name from their belief that Ras Tafari, another name for the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethopia (1892–1975), was God Incarnate. This word has been a model for new coinages, of which the best known is the trustafarian—young people who can spend their time having fun because they have an income from a trust fund.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: reg¦gae

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