• WordNet 3.6
    • n improvisation a performance given extempore without planning or preparation
    • n improvisation an unplanned expedient
    • n improvisation a creation spoken or written or composed extemporaneously (without prior preparation)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Mayonnaise is said to be the invention of the French chef of the Duke de Richelieu in 1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon, his chef was creating a victory feast that included a sauce made of cream and eggs. When the chef realized that there was no cream in the kitchen, he improvised, substituting olive oil for the cream. A new culinary masterpiece was born, and the chef named it "Mahonnaise" in honor of the Duke's victory.
    • Improvisation That which is improvised; an impromptu.
    • Improvisation The act or art of composing and rendering music, poetry, and the like, extemporaneously; as, improvisation on the organ.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Jazz began in the 20th century, when bands in New Orleans began to apply the syncopated rhythms of ragtime to a variety of other tunes. In the first days of jazz, ensemble playing was emphasized. Only gradually did jazz come to be based on improvised solos.
    • n improvisation The act of improvising; the act of composing poetry or music extemporaneously.
    • n improvisation A product of extemporaneous composition; an impromptu poem or musical performance.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Improvisation act of improvising: that which is improvised
    • ***


  • Walter Benjamin
    “These are days when no one should rely unduly on his competence. Strength lies in improvisation. All the decisive blows are struck left-handed.”
  • Carson Mccullers
    Carson Mccullers
    “There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.”
  • Camille Paglia
    “Jesus was a brilliant Jewish stand-up comedian, a phenomenal improviser. His parables are great one-liners.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Organization is the enemy of improvisation.”
  • Paul Simon
    Paul Simon
    “Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. improvisation,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. improviser—L. in, not, provisus, foreseen.


In literature:

A litter was soon improvised, and away we went to Jubbalpore, which we reached about eight in the evening.
"Tales of Daring and Danger" by George Alfred Henty
By the time I debarked for the fifth time, I was whistling the tune with jazzy improvisations in a mixed-up tempo.
"Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow
The dawn was now appearing, a faint pale dawn; and the platform presented the woeful appearance of an improvised hospital.
"The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Lourdes, Rome and Paris" by Emile Zola
Then we improvise bunglingly a makeshift.
"The Forest" by Stewart Edward White
He assisted the Leopard Woman to this improvised couch and laid her upon it.
"The Leopard Woman" by Stewart Edward White
Dillon improvised a scoop out of a dirty envelope.
"The Magnetic North" by Elizabeth Robins (C. E. Raimond)
My rough hosts having found out my gift, I was asked to sing to them; and once more my power of improvisation stood me in good stead.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol. I" by Various
That they were improvised and unpremeditated is another important consideration.
"The Wits and Beaux of Society" by Grace & Philip Wharton
He owed something, perhaps, to his material; for terra-cotta has the charm of improvisation.
"Renaissance in Italy Vol. 3" by John Addington Symonds
At home the great improvisation of the New Armies, undertaken by Lord Kitchener in the teeth of much expert criticism, goes steadily on.
"Mr. Punch's History of the Great War" by Punch

In poetry:

Improvisations sweep and peal,
Bring night, flames, fire barrels rolling,
Trees under downpour, rumbling wheels,
Life of the streets, fate of the lonely…
"Music" by Boris Pasternak
About a homeland that resembles poetry in our country
Improvised, imported, loose and of no boundaries
Of foreign tongue and soul
Detached from Man and Land, ignoring their plight as a whole
"We Are Accused Of Terrorism" by Nizar Qabbani
When once into the pinnace they improvised a sail into a tent,
Which to the crew some little shelter lent;
Still every day they were drifting towards the coast of Greenland,
Yet they hoped in God that speedy deliverance might be near at hand.
"The Wreck of the Barque 'Wm. Paterson of Liverpool'" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

Improvised Warfare In Iraq Leaves Lasting Effects.
Coldplay's Chris Martin Joins Garth & Kat for Improvised Thanksgiving Songs on 'SNL.
He and his wife conduct workshops in imaginatively structured group improvisation , for both professionals and non-actors, around the country.
'Conjuntos' brings artists together for improvised show.
Free, loose and improvised .
Seven strapping men in swashbuckler shirts improvise a two-act Shakespearean play based on a title suggested by the audience.
IO, Chicago: Seven strapping men in swashbuckler shirts improvise a two-act Shakespearean play based on a title suggested by the audience.
Kathryn Hahn's a hit in heavily improvised "Step Brothers".
Improvised Sea Passage to Beirut, for a Price.
Daily DANGER ROOM readers won't be surprised by this gloomy Newsweek look into the fight against improvised bombs.
Insurgents Changing Modern Warfare with Improvised Explosive Devices.
Insurgents in Iraq have perfected a new way of war based on the use of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
Mr Herzog, he said, was willing to improvise.
I used regular quick cooking Chinese noodles, you may improvise as you like.
Art review of 'Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings' and 'Robert Ryman: Variations and Improvisations' at the Phillips Collection.

In science:

This is why we improvise languages supporting distinction among permutationally isomorphic permutation groups for types PA, HS, SD, HC, CD.
Second maximal subgroups of the finite alternating and symmetric groups
The difficulties so widely experienced in complex software projects result, in the author’s submission, primarily from failure to identify the physics-based model now proposed; the key components and issues have gone unrecognised, the approach to the life-cycle improvised and incoherent.
Information science and technology as applications of the physics of signalling
An experiment is performed either to gather new data, or to verify or refute a claimed experimental fact or theoretical prediction, or to improvise upon an earlier result in regard to its accuracy.
Are Quantum States Subjective?
In the Bayesian framework all assumptions are(cid:10)explicit and there is no need to improvise a testing procedure.
Mutual Information as a Bayesian Measure of Independence