Definition of fugue in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /fyo͞oɡ/


1 Music A contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts.
Example sentences
  • Even though he had never even written a six-part fugue for keyboard, Bach immediately demurred.
  • The following evening the King added a request for a six-part fugue by Bach on his theme.
  • There are three solo pieces and a three-part fugue for clarinet, violin and cello.
2 Psychiatry A state or period of loss of awareness of one’s identity, often coupled with flight from one’s usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy.
Example sentences
  • Discussions of psychogenic fugue in standard psychiatric references offer suggestions of sodium amobarbital interviews or hypnosis.
  • In a few cases a person entered a fugue state where he would ‘come to’ far from his quarters with no memory of how he got there.
  • He'd heard about people in fugue states that black out of reality and do thing in a dream like state.



Pronunciation: /ˈfyo͞oɡəst/
Example sentences
  • I just wanted to say great job to those fuguists who have posted fugues since I have been here last, they sound great!
  • The DSM-IV says that the frotteurist and the fuguist, despite all conceivable arguments to the contrary, have lost their marbles, period and end of discussion.
  • At 7 years old, I viewed most adults as a band of amnesiacs, fuguists, zombies shuffling about in a fog of robotic boredom - for it seemed that they had awoken at some point and literally forgotten that they, of course, were in fact also young once.


Late 16th century: from French, or from Italian fuga, from Latin fuga 'flight', related to fugere 'flee'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fugue

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.