Definition of offbeat in US English:



  • 1Music
    Not coinciding with the beat.

    • ‘As her foot tried to join in with the tune, the rhythm that followed sounded offbeat and dying.’
    • ‘Classic echo and dub treatments infuse the songs alongside submersively deep bass, snare hits, basic hi-hat patterns, and offbeat keyboard accents.’
    • ‘Fuzzy white-noise guitars collide with offbeat drumming and driving bass.’
    • ‘Thankfully, the next track and recent single, ‘Everyday’, is much more of a pop rock song with its unusual opening bars, slightly offbeat drumming and catchy chorus.’
    • ‘The bass pedal hits this offbeat rhythm that I don't ever remember hearing before.’
    • ‘The ‘bombs’ mentioned in the poem refer to a musical term used to describe the strong offbeat accents used by drummers that were particularly influential during the bebop period of jazz.’
    • ‘Between the offbeat strum, subterranean bass and rock-steady drumming, they leave gaps that other bands would nervously clutter with ephemera.’
    • ‘He knew the steps, but the music was offbeat this time.’
    • ‘A carefree clarinet solo is offbeat but still manages to be a perfect fit.’
    • ‘More rolling piano and offbeat horns punctuate an almost New Orleans feel in the chorus.’
    • ‘Sometimes Schumann would destroy my case by perpetrating a lengthy passage of manic offbeat accompaniment such as occurs twice in the first movement of No 3.’
    • ‘It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section.’
  • 2informal Unconventional; unusual.

    ‘she's a little offbeat but she's a wonderful actress’
    • ‘There are two other people out there who are not only peculiar because they have a strange job, but also because they have a slightly offbeat hobby.’
    • ‘The book is an offbeat history of the saxophone from every angle of interest - its inventor, its evolution, its foremost players, its collectors and its impact on popular culture.’
    • ‘The owners have recently refurbished the attic space and now regularly hold offbeat theatrical events and musical evenings up there.’
    • ‘The show manages to keep the viewer a little off balance with an edgy storyline that can at times be offset by some offbeat humor.’
    • ‘I love their offbeat flair, their stylized dialogue, their unusual stories.’
    • ‘We're sitting in her car, and she has the radio on low, playing some offbeat song.’
    • ‘Second, we're not afraid to use quirky or offbeat tactics to sell books.’
    • ‘The offbeat mode in which he looks at men and matters, individuals and issues will reflect in the different perspective that the serial adopts.’
    • ‘Dr. Seuss has been one of the most unusual and offbeat children's authors in literature.’
    • ‘I've included alternate versions of Christmas classics as well as offbeat seasonal songs.’
    • ‘It is also a novel full of offbeat plot twists and chance events.’
    • ‘While Tuttle's art is offbeat and idiosyncratic, it is also very much mainstream.’
    • ‘Over the weeks, we came to the conclusion that the more offbeat, the more weird it is, the better it works.’
    • ‘The humor is offbeat and unconventional, but much of it is funny.’
    • ‘This quirky, offbeat blog has a beautiful, poetic quality that really stands out from the crowd.’
    • ‘This cinema at that time showed very offbeat and unusual films.’
    • ‘It looked a bit offbeat, away from the commonplace, conventional boutiques where the normal celebrities would be found.’
    • ‘The film, not the band, is a delightful little offbeat story that still retains its strange power to move me after 30 years.’
    • ‘The composer has his share of offbeat projects to keep himself busy.’
    • ‘Her clothes are not at all what I usually prefer; rather, they are much more offbeat, much more bohemian.’
    unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, off-centre, eccentric, outré, idiosyncratic, strange, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, freakish, outlandish, out of the ordinary, bohemian, alternative, left-field, hippy, zany, quirky
    View synonyms


  • Any of the normally unaccented beats in a bar.

    • ‘McDowell's guitar playing on these songs was all about rhythm, a distinctive syncopated chug that emphasized the offbeats and often stayed on a single chord.’
    • ‘In fact, the high bongo plays on an offbeat while the cowbell simply marks the beat.’
    • ‘The album climaxes with this strange 2003 anthem, a trawl through a dark sewer full of bass, lots of negative space, and strange, rattling offbeats.’
    • ‘The drum machine offbeats are still present, but instead of snarky basslines and slow grinds, the song features a wistfully high organ stomp, and shifting tempos throughout.’
    • ‘On this song, a mutant dancehall pattern bumps to static offbeats and a hiccuping vocal that's an integral part of the groove.’
    • ‘This is all to say nothing of the beautiful, ever-rising backing that threads through the song; present in the verse, when the horns come in full-force on the offbeats.’