What does percussion mean?

Definitions for percussion
pərˈkʌʃ ənper·cus·sion

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word percussion.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. percussionnoun

    the act of playing a percussion instrument

  2. percussionnoun

    the act of exploding a percussion cap

  3. percussion section, percussion, rhythm sectionnoun

    the section of a band or orchestra that plays percussion instruments

  4. percussion, pleximetrynoun

    tapping a part of the body for diagnostic purposes


  1. percussionnoun

    the collision of two bodies in order to produce a sound

  2. percussionnoun

    the sound so produced

  3. percussionnoun

    the detonation of a percussion cap in a firearm

  4. percussionnoun

    the tapping of the body as an aid to medical diagnosis

  5. percussionnoun

    the section of an orchestra or band containing percussion instruments; such instruments considered as a group

  6. percussionnoun

    the repeated striking of an object to break or shape it, as in percussion drilling

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Percussionnoun

    Etymology: percussio, Lat. percussion, Fr.

    With thy grim looks, and
    The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
    Thou mad’st thine enemies shake. William Shakespeare.

    The percussion of the greater quantity of air is produced by the greatness of the body percussing. Francis Bacon.

    Some note, that the times when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt are, when the party envied is beheld in glory. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    The vibrations or tremors excited in the air by percussion, continue a little time to move from the place of percussion in concentric spheres to great distances. Isaac Newton, Opticks.

    Marbles taught him percussion and the laws of motion, and tops the centrifugal motion. Scriblerus Club , Scriblerus.

    In double rhymes the percussion is stronger. Thomas Rymer.


  1. Percussion

    A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or struck against another similar instrument. Excluding zoomusicological instruments and the human voice, the percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments. In spite of being a very common term to designate instruments, and to relate them to their players, the percussionists, percussion is not a systematic classificatory category of instruments, as described by the scientific field of organology. It is shown below that percussion instruments may belong to the organological classes of ideophone, membranophone, aerophone and cordophone. The percussion section of an orchestra most commonly contains instruments such as the timpani, snare drum, bass drum, tambourine, belonging to the membranophones, and cymbals and triangle, which are idiophones. However, the section can also contain aerophones, such as whistles and sirens, or a blown conch shell. Percussive techniques can even be applied to the human body itself, as in body percussion. On the other hand, keyboard instruments, such as the celesta, are not normally part of the percussion section, but keyboard percussion instruments such as the glockenspiel and xylophone (which do not have piano keyboards) are included. Percussion instruments are most commonly divided into two classes: pitched percussion instruments, which produce notes with an identifiable pitch, and unpitched percussion instruments, which produce notes or sounds in an indefinite pitch.


  1. percussion

    Percussion refers to a family of musical instruments that produce sound through being struck, shaken or scraped. This category includes instruments like drums, cymbals, xylophones, or tambourines. It can also refer to the section of a band or orchestra composed of percussion instruments. Additionally, in a medical context, percussion is a diagnostic procedure used to tap body parts with fingers, hands, or small instruments to evaluate size, consistency, and borders of body organs, or to identify fluid or solid masses.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Percussionnoun

    the act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report

  2. Percussionnoun

    hence: The effect of violent collision; vibratory shock; impression of sound on the ear

  3. Percussionnoun

    the act of tapping or striking the surface of the body in order to learn the condition of the parts beneath by the sound emitted or the sensation imparted to the fingers. Percussion is said to be immediate if the blow is directly upon the body; if some interventing substance, as a pleximeter, is, used, it is called mediate

  4. Etymology: [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See Percuss.]


  1. Percussion

    Percussion is a method of tapping on a surface to determine the underlying structure, and is used in clinical examinations to assess the condition of the thorax or abdomen. It is one of the four methods of clinical examination, together with inspection, palpation and auscultation. It is done with the middle finger of one hand tapping on the middle finger of the other hand using a wrist action. The non striking finger is placed firmly on the body over tissue. When percussing boney areas such as the clavicle the spleximeter can be omitted and the bone is tapped directly such as when percussing an apical cavitary lung lesion typical of TB. There are two types of percussion: direct, which uses only one or two fingers, and indirect, which uses the middle/flexor finger. There are four types of percussion sounds: resonant, hyper-resonant, stony dull or dull. A dull sound indicates the presence of a solid mass under the surface. A more resonant sound indicates hollow, air-containing structures. As well as producing different notes which can be heard they also produce different sensations in the pleximeter finger. Percussion was initially used to distinguish between empty and filled barrels of liquor, and Dr. Leopold Auenbrugger is said to be the person who introduced the technique to modern medicine although this method was used by Avicenna about 1000 years before that for medical practice.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Percussion

    per-kush′un, n. the forcible striking of one body against another: collision, or the shock produced by it: impression of sound on the ear: (med.) the tapping upon the body to find the condition of an internal organ by the sounds: in the jargon of palmistry, the outer side of the hand.—adjs. Percuss′ional, Percuss′ive.—ns. Percuss′ion-bull′et, a bullet so formed as to explode on striking something: an explosive bullet; Percus′sion-cap, a cap of copper partly filled with a substance which explodes when struck, formerly used for firing rifles, &c.; Percus′sion-fuse, a fuse in a projectile set in action by concussion when the projectile strikes the object; Percus′sion-hamm′er, a small hammer for percussion in diagnosis; Percus′sion-lock, a kind of lock for a gun in which a hammer strikes upon a percussion-cap on the nipple, igniting the charge; Percus′sion-pow′der, powder which explodes on being struck, called also fulminating powder.—adv. Percuss′ively.—ns. Percuss′or; Percuteur′, an instrument for light percussion in neuralgia, &c.—adj. Percū′tient, striking or having power to strike.—n. that which strikes or has power to strike. [L. percussion-empercutĕre, percussumper, thoroughly, quatĕre, to shake.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Percussion

    Act of striking a part with short, sharp blows as an aid in diagnosing the condition beneath the sound obtained.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. percussion

    The striking of one body by another.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. percussion

    Is the impression which a body makes in falling or striking against another, or the shock of two moving bodies. It is either direct or oblique.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for percussion »

  1. supersonic

  2. croupiness

How to pronounce percussion?

How to say percussion in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of percussion in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of percussion in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of percussion in a Sentence

  1. Damon Albarn:

    It's a truly miraculous sound they create ... There's a whole choir, there's strings, there's soloists, there's amazing percussion. It's a really dynamic and joyous sound, we're so used to seeing Syria through the prism of news, which is entirely a negative thing. This concert will give a completely different perspective.

  2. Paul Templer:

    Typically, if a hippo is going to be attacking, you’ll see it coming way before. There will be that bow wave. … If you slap the water, the percussion 99.9 times out of 100 will turn the hippo, if you’re in a canoe and a hippo knocks you in the water, get away from the canoe. The hippo is going for this big shape, getting it off its territory.

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Translations for percussion

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"percussion." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/percussion>.

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1 Comment
  • Shane Astro
    Shane Astro
    thats so easy
    LikeReply6 years ago

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Lengthy word or many syllables.
A commensal
B inexpiable
C sesquipedalian
D irascible

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