Definition of downbeat in English:



  • Pessimistic; gloomy.

    ‘the assessment of current economic prospects is downbeat’
    • ‘Especially in the first half, they tend too much towards the downbeat, melancholy and densely produced to the point of murkiness.’
    • ‘The chairman of JJB Sports was in downbeat mood at the firm's AGM with a glum combination of reduced turnover, lower profit margins and higher operating costs.’
    • ‘In addition, the film's relentlessly downbeat tone creates a dark emotional backdrop.’
    • ‘What gave rise to this downbeat view of human agency, this ‘fatalistic epistemology’ that recasts people as victims?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Success would be historic but defeat would mean his departure would be even more downbeat.’
    • ‘The downbeat defeatism or hollow war cries have disappeared and while they made a rod for their own back with the opening-day draw with Aberdeen, the players and management evidently believe all is not lost and time is on their side.’
    • ‘Too many cartoon characters have become cynical and downbeat and it's just refreshing to see something upbeat and good hearted.’
    • ‘The performance matched a downbeat start to the week for the Dow Jones in the US and reflected cheaper telecom, media and oil stocks in London.’
    • ‘This is as dark and downbeat as they come, the occasional lighter moments of banter notwithstanding.’
    • ‘But he took his defeat on the chin and refused to be too downbeat after his first major final since winning the 2003 Regal Scottish Open.’
    • ‘The Squid And The Whale may sound downbeat and depressing, but it is so true to life, it turns out funny and compassionate.’
    • ‘For this reason, people often view him as pessimistic and downbeat.’
    • ‘But he took his defeat on the chin and refused to be too downbeat about his performance in his first major final since winning the 2003 Regal Scottish Open.’
    • ‘The problem is the story, which seems relentlessly gloomy and downbeat, lacking moments of breakdown and reconciliation that were so crucial to previous successes.’
    • ‘If you're a glum dour downbeat killjoy who has nothing to peddle but reheated miserabilism, you will come across as a bitter fool, and no one will be persuaded.’
    • ‘Her blend of downbeat, melancholic indie-tinged rock isn't custom-made for the sunny climes and plastic features of LA, so what prompted the sudden move?’
    • ‘His writing on the last campaign trail was increasingly dejected but never downbeat.’
    • ‘An hour spent absorbing the color and black-and-white works provides a great introduction to an inventive artist whose wry sense of humor and smart downbeat attitude are urban adult all the way.’
    pessimistic, gloomy, negative, defeatist, gloom-ridden, cynical, bleak, fatalistic, dark, black, despairing, despondent, depressed, dejected, demoralized, hopeless, melancholy, glum, lugubrious, suspicious, distrustful, doubting, alarmist
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  • An accented beat, usually the first of the bar.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, the downbeats of measures 13 and 14 represent clear rhythmic arrival points and should be played with a full-arm gesture, while the previous three measures clearly lead to those downbeats.’
    • ‘A dense cross-rhythmic relationship is thus struck between the bass and drums, with their respective downbeats lining up only once every 24 eighth notes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The song has three stanzas of six lines, carrying four stresses downbeats separated by upbeats.’