Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. Grammar To shorten (a word) by syncope.
  • transitive v. Music To modify (rhythm) by syncopation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to omit a sound or a letter from a word; to use syncope
  • v. to stress or accentuate the weak beat of a rhythm; to use syncopation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To contract, as a word, by taking one or more letters or syllables from the middle.”
  • transitive v. To commence, as a tone, on an unaccented part of a measure, and continue it into the following accented part, so that the accent is driven back upon the weak part and the rhythm drags.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To contract, as a word, by taking one or more letters or syllables from the middle, as exemplified in Gloster for Gloucester.
  • In music, to affect by syncopation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. modify the rhythm by stressing or accenting a weak beat
  • v. omit a sound or letter in a word

Etymologies

Late Latin syncopāre, syncopāt-, from syncopē, syncope; see syncope.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin syncopātus, past particple of syncopō, from Late Latin syncopa, from Ancient Greek σύν (syn, "with") + κόπτω (kopto, "cut") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Every ragtime or jazz enthusiast knows that when you syncopate from the Greek for “cut short”, you begin a note on a weak beat in the bar, sustaining it into the accented part, thereby shifting the accent.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • All syncopate smartly, but the big surprise is Ken Peplowski's clarinet, which adds a swinging blue coolness to the festive heat, particularly on "Sleigh Ride" and "Winter Wonderland."

    Under the Tree, but No Sap

  • Shifts in density created by clusters of strokes now more open, now more closed animate and syncopate the upper regions, like variations in the density of a canopy of trees with different habits of growth.

    Branching Out Atop the Met Museum

  • I let these sounds syncopate the air coming in and out of my lungs, and concentrating, like this, on the most basic block of life, I fall asleep.

    Vivian Rising

  • She cradles Cisco in her arms and lap, rocking him as if to sleep, and her screams syncopate with every motion forward.

    Tattoos on the Heart

  • The camera cuts help syncopate this–we are on the train, and the billboards change, but before we can see the final billboard flip over we go into the tunnel…

    Orchestration | Goblin Mercantile Exchange

  • You enter through that wall, and they'll have a wall of water, and they're going to try to syncopate it to the actual rhythm of Dr. King's voice.

    CNN Transcript Nov 13, 2006

  • I mean, I think the way that he said to me is like ` You know, wouldn't it be great if you could syncopate Bartok? '

    'American Primitve' Captures Young Performers

  • "God" is ghmerto, and this passage includes a case form that forces that poor lonely e, stuck between two consonant clusters, to syncopate, yielding ghmrtisi.

    languagehat.com: MULTILINGUAL BIBLE.

  • In grammar, you syncopate by snipping a word short or by skipping one or two syllables in the middle.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

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