ru·ba·to (r-bätō) Music
n. pl. ru·ba·tos
Rhythmic flexibility within a phrase or measure; a relaxation of strict time.
Containing or characterized by rubato.
[Italian (tempo) rubato, stolen (time), rubato, past participle of rubare, to rob, of Germanic origin; see reup- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.