One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A classical dance style of Japan, characterized by highly stylized, restrained movements made by performers wearing elaborate costumes and sometimes using masks and hand-held props. Also: the genre of music which accompanies this. Frequently (and in earliest use) attributive.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Cornhill Magazine. From Japanese bugaku from bu dance (from Middle Chinese; compare Chinese wǔ) + -gaku music (from Middle Chinese; compare Chinese yuè).
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