Definition of percussion in English:



  • 1Musical instruments played by striking with the hand or with a handheld or pedal-operated stick or beater, or by shaking, including drums, cymbals, xylophones, gongs, bells, and rattles.

    [as modifier] ‘percussion instruments’
    ‘the percussion section’
    • ‘The tunes remain but the clattering percussion and meandering vocals transport them to a whole other level.’
    • ‘Nigerian music is dependent on strong rhythms supplied by countless drums and percussion instruments.’
    • ‘With chiming percussion to the fore, transparency and subtlety are the characteristics of the orchestration.’
    • ‘The second one played saxophone and the third one played percussion, like her.’
    • ‘Accompanied by orchestral percussion, the melodic instruments interweave solos and duets and leave a trail of scattered bells.’
    • ‘The song's detailed arrangement is fleshed out by electric piano, aquatic guitar lines, and exotic percussion.’
    • ‘The band's greatest appeal is still their use of tribal percussion and experimentation with sounds from around the world.’
    • ‘One feature of interest is a rhythmic chanting to a percussion accompaniment.’
    • ‘Initially, the tribal percussion and sometimes maudlin tone may not sit well.’
    • ‘The ample percussion section punctuated the music's flow without overwhelming it.’
    • ‘The last song of the night was a loud one, complete with a fast tempo and pounding percussion.’
    • ‘The driver continued his singing and with his free hand added some percussion on the dashboard.’
    • ‘The entire wind section - flutes and saxophones - were out to get the percussion section.’
    • ‘The Adagio would probably do that if arranged for tuned percussion.’
    • ‘He specializes in West African percussion and will be playing with a few friends of his.’
    • ‘The percussion sounds like the sudden buzz of dragonfly wings.’
    • ‘The music, meanwhile, is especially good, with jaunty a cappella tunes featuring nonsense singing and vocal percussion.’
    • ‘His music is decidedly eccentric and remarkably varied, from ambient drones to industrial noise to metallic percussion.’
    • ‘The range of electronic sounds, live percussion and singing merged well.’
    • ‘Use Latin American percussion when singing this lively song.’
  • 2The striking of one solid object with or against another with some degree of force.

    ‘the clattering percussion of objects striking the walls and the shutters’
    • ‘In particular, the supporters of energy/work rightly doubted its competence to deal with phenomena involving percussion and impact.’
    • ‘For pebbles and larger particles, surface textures, such as weathering pits and percussion fractures, provide important clues to particle history.’
    • ‘We may leave aside bizarre examples whereby smell or impact, percussion, may have had some effect.’
    • ‘These artifacts have been grouped with the Stage 5 material because it is uncertain whether they were removed by percussion or by pressure.’
    • ‘The electrical display with accompanying percussion was frequent and persistent.’
    • ‘During drilling a hollow steel core barrel with an inner rod with pointed tip was hammered into the sand by percussion and hydraulic pressure.’
    crash, bang, smash, clash, bump, thump, thwack, whack
    impact, collision, striking, beating, shock, knock
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Medicine The action of tapping a part of the body as part of a diagnosis.
      ‘the chest sounded dull on percussion’
      • ‘Physical examination revealed dullness to percussion and decreased breath sounds at both bases.’
      • ‘On examination the only abnormality was a little bilateral basal dullness to percussion accompanied by a decrease in vocal resonance.’
      • ‘Physical examination through percussion and palpation, however, would reveal more about the size of the liver than a flat film since the flat film only reveals one of the apecies.’
      • ‘Physical examination revealed decreased breath sounds and dullness to percussion over the right lower lung.’
      • ‘This involves four steps: observation, palpation, percussion, and auscultation.’


Late Middle English: from Latin percussio(n-), from the verb percutere to strike forcibly (see percuss).