1. The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
2. Vocal or instrumental sounds possessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm.
a. A musical composition.
b. The written or printed score for such a composition.
c. Such scores considered as a group: We keep our music in a stack near the piano.
4. A musical accompaniment.
5. A particular category or kind of music.
6. An aesthetically pleasing or harmonious sound or combination of sounds: the music of the wind in the pines.
[Middle English musike, from Old French musique, from Latin mūsica, from Greek mousikē (tekhnē), (art) of the Muses, feminine of mousikos, of the Muses, from Mousa, Muse; see men-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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.