Rubato Definition

ro͝o-bätō
rubatos
noun
Rhythmic flexibility within a phrase or measure; a relaxation of strict time.
American Heritage
Rubato modification or execution.
Webster's New World
A rubato passage, phrase, etc.
Webster's New World

(music) A tempo in which strict timing is relaxed, the music being played near, but not on the beat.

Wiktionary
adjective
Containing or characterized by rubato.
American Heritage
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.
Webster's New World
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Other Word Forms of Rubato

Noun

Singular:
rubato
Plural:
rubatos

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

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