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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ an impromptu performance
▪ Jem's impromptu speech met with thunderous applause.
▪ We finished the day with an impromptu game of football in a nearby field.
▪ But if friends descended, would you be ready to rustle up an impromptu supper?
▪ But in the final hour he did deliver the goods, taking impromptu questions from the audience.
▪ From that point, the forum became an impromptu tribute to Jim Maier.
▪ He had failed because of a lack of talent for impromptu speaking, considered essential for the task he was contemplating.
▪ I could then have pretended to notice him for the first time and have engaged him in conversation in an impromptu manner.
▪ Schwarm disputed the witness' story last week in an impromptu press conference outside court.
▪ The drunken revel of the Roman leaders has the right air of impromptu festivity.
▪ The remarks of both Clintons were, at least in part, impromptu.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Impromptu \Im*promp"tu\, adv. or a. [F. impromptu, fr. L. in promptu in readiness, at hand; in in + promptus visibility, readiness, from promptus visible, ready. See Prompt.] Offhand; without previous study; extemporaneous; extempore; as, an impromptu verse.


Impromptu \Im*promp"tu\, n.

  1. Something made or done offhand, at the moment, or without previous study; an extemporaneous composition, address, or remark.

  2. (Mus.) A piece composed or played at first thought; a composition in the style of an extempore piece.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1660s (adv.), 1764 (adj.), from French impromptu (1650s), from Latin in promptu "in readiness," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + promptu, ablative of promptus "readiness," from past participle of promere "to bring out," from pro- "before, forward, for" + emere "to obtain" (see exempt).


a. improvise; without prior preparation, planning or rehearsal; extemporaneous; unplanned. n. 1 (context music English) a short musical composition for an informal occasion often with the character of improvisation and usually to be played solo. 2 any composition, musical or otherwise, that is created on the spot without preparation.

  1. adj. with little or no preparation or forethought; "his ad-lib comments showed poor judgment"; "an extemporaneous piano recital"; "an extemporary lecture"; "an extempore skit"; "an impromptu speech"; "offhand excuses"; "trying to sound offhanded and reassuring"; "an off-the-cuff toast"; "a few unrehearsed comments" [syn: ad-lib, extemporaneous, extemporary, extempore, offhand, offhanded, off-the-cuff, unrehearsed]

  2. n. an extemporaneous speech or remark; "a witty impromptu must not sound premeditated"

  3. a short musical passage that seems to have been made spontaneously without advance preparation

  4. adv. without advance preparation; "he spoke ad lib" [syn: ad lib, ad libitum, spontaneously]

Impromptu (1991 film)

Impromptu is a 1991 British-American period drama film directed by James Lapine, written by Sarah Kernochan, produced by Daniel A. Sherkow and Stuart Oken, and starring Hugh Grant as Frédéric Chopin and Judy Davis as George Sand. The film was shot entirely on location in France as a British production by an American company. The main location used was at the Chateau des Briottières outside of Angers, in the Loire Valley.


An impromptu (, , loosely meaning "offhand") is a free-form musical composition with the character of an ex tempore improvisation as if prompted by the spirit of the moment, usually for a solo instrument, such as piano. According to Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Johann Baptist Cramer began publishing piano pieces under the (sub-)title of "impromptu." (AMZ, Mar. No II, 1815, col. 6), which seems to be the first recorded use of the term impromptu in this sense.

Impromptu (disambiguation)

Impromptu is a musical form or genre.

Impromptu may also refer to:

  • Impromptu, a 1923 novel by Elliot Paul
  • Impromptu (1932 film), a comedy short starring Richard Bird and Florence Desmond
  • Impromptu (1991 film), a movie starring Hugh Grant as Chopin
  • Impromptu (programming environment), a Scheme-based live programming environment
  • Impromptu (June Christy album), a 1977 album by June Christy
  • Impromptu (Billy Taylor album), a 1962 album by jazz pianist Billy Taylor
Impromptu (programming environment)

Impromptu is a Mac OS X programming environment for live coding. Impromptu is built around the Scheme language, which is a member of the Lisp family of languages. The source code of its core has been opened as the Extempore project.

Impromptu (1932 film)

Impromptu is a 1932 British comedy short by William C. McGann, starring Richard Bird, Florence Desmond and Dodo Watts.

Impromptu (June Christy album)

Impromptu is the final album by June Christy, recorded in 1977 and featuring the Lou Levy Sextet.

Impromptu (Billy Taylor album)

Impromptu is an album by American jazz pianist Billy Taylor which was recorded in 1962 and released on the Mercury label.

Usage examples of "impromptu".

Steven Argent had just laid this matter in their hands, and gone downstairs to gather the remaining barons together for an impromptu council, and to announce that he had chosen Captains Kethol, Pirojil and Durine to investigate the murder of Baron Morray and Lady Mondegreen.

Army Corps of Engineers give a presentation at the town library, explaining their plan to stabilize the cliff at its most vulnerable points with impromptu riprap seawalls made of boulders dumped from above.

He then gave the lone guard orders to let no noble of the realm or stranger come near the two royals, then left the impromptu sickroom.

Then the knives and forks and spoons began their impromptu music against the water glasses.

Here the aisles widened out into an impromptu square and the wind tore at them as they stepped out of the relative shelter of the narrower ways.

Into the plaza came ten or fifteen boys, leaping, dancing cartwheels, forming impromptu human pyramids that promptly collapsed, to general laughter.

Vesian, I told the coachman to drive us to the Gros Caillou, where we made an excellent impromptu dinner, the cheerfulness of the guests making up for the deficiencies of the servants.

I also agreed with him when he said that he had warned her against making impromptus too frequently, as such hasty verses are apt to sacrifice wit to rhyme.

Aspinwall, Morrison, and I had almost daily impromptu meetings with Witten at which he would show us new insights following from his approach.

Taking advantage of this auspicious moment, Mr. Guppy presents his friend under the impromptu name of Mr.

Hannah fairly capered around the room, her plaits flying in an impromptu dance to the fiddle music.

Jerry sold pop, candy bars, Hostess Twinkles, and gum from an impromptu concession stand, and that was about how things stacked up.

Taking the liberty of laughing, I composed a few impromptu verses in which I named all I thought dainty and exquisite.

This impromptu and judicious amendment was greeted with cheers all around, and Imperial Vicarius Columella smiled as graciously as if he had intended offering the increase from the first.

I easily guessed that she was giving me an impromptu part in a play of her own composition, and I was to be a 'deux ex machina'.