Rubato meaning

ro͝o-bä'tō
Rhythmic flexibility within a phrase or measure; a relaxation of strict time.
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Containing or characterized by rubato.
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With some notes arbitrarily lengthened (or shortened) in performance and, often, others correspondingly changed in length; (in a manner) intentionally and temporarily deviating from a strict tempo: also used as a musical direction.
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Rubato modification or execution.
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A rubato passage, phrase, etc.
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(music) A tempo in which strict timing is relaxed, the music being played near, but not on the beat.
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Origin of rubato

  • Italian (tempo) rubato stolen (time), rubato past participle of rubare to rob of Germanic origin reup- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • Italian rubato (“robbed, stolen"), since the time is "borrowed".
    From Wiktionary