• A contrapuntal piece of music wherein a particular melody is played in a number of voices, each voice introduced in turn by playing the melody.
  • Anything in literature, poetry, film, painting, etc., that resembles a fugue in structure or in its elaborate complexity and formality.
  • A fugue state.


  • To improvise, in singing, by introducing vocal ornamentation to fill gaps etc.


  • Borrowed from French fugue, from Italian fuga ("flight, ardor"), from Latin fuga ("act of fleeing"), from fugiō; compare Ancient Greek φυγή. Apparently from the metaphor that the first part starts alone on its course, and is pursued by later parts.

Modern English dictionary

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