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downbeat Line breaks: down|beat
Pronunciation: /ˈdaʊnbiːt/

Definition of downbeat in English:


1Pessimistic or gloomy: the assessment of the UK’s economic prospects is downbeat
More example sentences
  • Barely a negative vibe will be emitted from any of the bidding nations, nor a single quote uttered which might seem remotely downbeat or pessimistic.
  • For this reason, people often view him as pessimistic and downbeat.
  • This survey of the EU's institutions, like the new institutionalist literature itself, might seem to paint a generally sombre, downbeat, pessimistic picture of modern political life.
pessimistic, gloomy, negative, defeatist, gloom-ridden, cynical, bleak, fatalistic, dark, black, despairing, despondent, depressed, dejected, demoralized, hopeless, melancholy, glum, lugubrious, suspicious, distrustful, doubting, alarmist
informal given to looking on the black side
2Relaxed and understated: he responds to her enthusiasm with downbeat bemusement
More example sentences
  • This song set the tone for the downbeat understatement that the event traditionally displays.
  • Here was a manager who understood the anguish of a support which, in turn, recognised the limitations of a squad but could not understand the downbeat nature of performances.
  • The president, C Parker, set a downbeat tone in his speech.
relaxed, easy-going, equable, free and easy, easy, at ease, casual, informal, nonchalant, insouciant, understated, inconspicuous, low-key, subdued, discreet, muted, subtle, played down, toned down, unostentatious, blasé, cool
informal laid-back, unflappable, together


Music Back to top  
An accented beat, usually the first of the bar.
Example sentences
  • The song has three stanzas of six lines, carrying four stresses downbeats separated by upbeats.
  • For this pianist rushing and slowing down in the cantabile sections while drawing attention to the downbeats over the barlines is a measure of profound expression.
  • Stopping before a bar line inhibits the central nervous system of the student who could otherwise tend to take over and encourage rushing over bar lines into downbeats.

Words that rhyme with downbeat

drumbeat • upbeat

Definition of downbeat in:

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