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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
roots reggae
▪ From within came the crash of reggae music.
▪ Luckily the driver has on some kind of fabulous reggae music.
▪ If Island were having hits with reggae music, Virgin should be too.
▪ Here you can snorkel or simply relax with a beer and enjoy the sounds of Neville's calypso and reggae music.
▪ But Cirrito is quick to point out that Rastafarianism is a religion, whereas reggae is a beat.
▪ But whereas calypso now only rarely contains a political message reggae almost always does.
▪ Everyone tapped their toes and got into the swing a reggae one rather than an electoral one.
▪ Funk, jazz and reggae influence their sound, but the result never dips into a Western dirge.
▪ Here you can snorkel or simply relax with a beer and enjoy the sounds of Neville's calypso and reggae music.
▪ If Island were having hits with reggae music, Virgin should be too.
▪ One day I went to the nearby yacht club where a open-air reggae festival continued well into the night.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1968, Jamaican English (first in song title "Do the Reggay" by Toots & the Maytals), perhaps [OED, Barnhart] related to rege-rege "a quarrel, protest," literally "ragged clothes," variant of raga-raga, alteration and reduplication of English rag (n.).


n. (context rasta music English) A form of music originating in Jamaica and associated with Rastafarianism, featuring a heavy bass line, percussive rhythm guitar on the offbeat, often with close vocal harmonies.


n. popular music originating in the West Indies; repetitive bass riffs and regular chords played on the off beat by a guitar


Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals " Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word " reggae," effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rock steady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.

Stylistically, reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, mento (a celebratory, rural folk form that served its largely rural audience as dance music and an alternative to the hymns and adapted chanteys of local church singing), calypso, African music, as well as other genres. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure. The tempo of reggae is usually slower than ska but faster than rocksteady. The concept of "call and response" can be found throughout reggae music.

The bass guitar often plays the dominant role in reggae. The bass sound in reggae is thick and heavy, and equalized so the upper frequencies are removed and the lower frequencies emphasized. The guitar in reggae usually plays on the off beat of the rhythm. It is common for reggae to be sung in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican English, and Iyaric dialects. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism and religion in its lyrics, although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing.

Reggae has spread to many countries across the world, often incorporating local instruments and fusing with other genres. Reggae en Español spread from the mainland South America countries of Venezuela and Guyana to the rest of South America. Caribbean music in the United Kingdom, including reggae, has been popular since the late 1960s, and has evolved into several subgenres and fusions. Many reggae artists began their careers in the UK, and there have been a number of European artists and bands drawing their inspiration directly from Jamaica and the Caribbean community in Europe. Reggae in Africa was boosted by the visit of Bob Marley to Zimbabwe in 1980. In Jamaica, authentic reggae is one of the biggest sources of income.

Reggae (disambiguation)

Reggae may refer to:

  • Reggae, a popular musical genre
  • Reggae, Dr. Wily's robotic pet bird from MegaMan
Reggae (album)

Reggae is an album by flautist Herbie Mann recorded in London in 1973 and released on the Atlantic label.

Usage examples of "reggae".

The lilting reggae strains of Bob Marley began to pulse through the speakers, having an almost instant mellowing effect on us both.

The bad news is she smokes enough dope to supply a reggae festival in Kingston.

I was here to shift some antique silver, and the nutter earaches me over reggae and steel bands?

Add a little reggae and what more suitable combination of themes for calling up a proper boat?

The obvious tension of the Jamaicans stood in sharp contrast to the sonorous reggae rhythm that pealed from a radio on the nightstand.

Annissa watched and waited inside, her manicured nails tapping a reggae beat on the glossy metal of the small airplane she stood beside.

The soothing mixture of the faint reggae beat blended with the lapping of the ocean waves whisking her away.

Those things never go out of style, that grinding racha chacha chacha sound they make, speakers blasting out salsa, border reggae, warped conjuntos, Malaysian pop, music from a million places jammed together into one big scratchy, bumping, throbbing noise that put grooves on the inside of your skull.

Blunt Force Trauma play a kind of speed reggae heavily influenced by the antitechnological ideas of the Meltdowns.

Blunt Force Trauma play a kind of speed reggae heavily influenced by the antitechnological ideas of the Meltdowns.

Oddly this is followed by two instrumentals: the eerie African‑influenced reggae dance track "Bobo Tempo" and the second part of "Small World.

Their songwriting grew more sophisticated and the group wasn't afraid to quietly explore other genres – notably reggae ("Tell Her a Little Lie") and ballads ("Hope You Love Me Like You Say" and "Is It Me?