v. im·pro·vised, im·pro·vis·ing, im·pro·vis·es
1. To make, compose, or perform with little or no preparation: improvise a solution to the problem; improvise variations on a melody.
2. To make or provide from available materials: improvised a dinner from what I found in the refrigerator.
1. To make, compose, or perform something extemporaneously.
2. To make do with whatever materials are at hand: There isn't much in the cabin. We'll just have to improvise.
[French improviser, from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso, unforeseen, from Latin imprōvīsus : in-, not; see IN-1 + prōvīsus, past participle of prōvidēre, to foresee; see PROVIDE.]
impro·vis′er, impro·vi′sor n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.