Seek for help: Now I'm doing a translation work. How can I describe "people beat with their feet according to music rhythm" in English? Maybe one word or a few words.

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    To be sure you are getting an appropriate phrase, it would probably be worth including more of the surrounding context and any other detail. Are people moving, dancing marching? Are they seated or standing, are they beating their feet on the floor or some other surface? Are they beating their feet against anything, its possible to move your foot in time to a beat without it hitting anything if you are sitting down. All of that would help get yuu the most appropriate wording.
    – Spagirl
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:35

5 Answers 5


A common expression with your meaning is foot-tapping which is defined as

[noun] A rhythmic tapping of the foot, especially in time to music

[adjective] foot-tapping [...] (music) Having an insistent rhythm; catchy

Source: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/foot-tapping

See some typical examples in music context here:


The more forceful or vigorous form of this is often called foot-stamping (formal) or foot-stomping -- example:

It’s a joyful, foot stomping, energetic musical experience, and one you surely don’t want to miss!

Source: http://www.mariposafolk.com/joyful-foot-stomping

See more examples here:


May I conclude with a member's very useful comment on how to use the phrase in translation:

Taking this answer as a cue on how to translate "people beat with their feet according to the music rhythm", I think the most direct translation would be "people tapped their feet to the music" – Darren Ringer

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    Very happy to help you @Jiang Joanna! Oct 16, 2017 at 7:37
  • @JiangJoanna If this is exactly what you want, please accept the answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:06
  • @EnglishStudent +1 Yes, I have always tapped my foot to music.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:45
  • 'Foot-tapping rhythm' is a famous phrase, thanks @Nigel J. "The musicians entertained the crowd with their foot-tapping rhythms." Oct 16, 2017 at 8:51
  • Taking this answer as a cue on how to translate "people beat with their feet according to the music rhythm", I think the most direct translation would be "people tapped their feet to the music" Oct 16, 2017 at 16:50

The expression is to beat time:

If you beat time to a piece of music, you move your hand or foot up and down in time with the music. A conductor beats time to show the choir or orchestra how fast they should sing or play the music.

  • He beats time with hands and feet.

(Collins Dictionary)


There is a common phrase for this: stamp (or stomp) in time. We often add to or with something, e.g. stomp in time to the music or with the rhythm. It's a straightforward combination of the verb stamp or stomp and the musical meaning of the phrase in time. From Oxford Dictionaries:

stamp VERB
1 Bring down (one's foot) heavily on the ground or on something on the ground.

stomp VERB
1.3 with object Stamp (one's feet)
1.4 no object Dance with heavy stamping steps.

in time PHRASE
3. In accordance with the appropriate musical rhythm or tempo.

Some examples of usage:

A snake dance was weaving down the right aisle, across in front, and back up the center aisle, feet stomping in time with the priest's piston-like jabs and the syncopated chant of the choir.
Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a strange Land, 1961

One rather late Greek use, shown in a statue in the Uffizi in Florence, was a pair of small cymbals in the base of a sandal so that they clinked and clattered as the wearer danced or stamped in time to the music.
Jeremy Montague, Timpani and percussion, 2002

They clapped and stomped in time and sweated like the plebs at a Roman circus.
Alistair Cooke, Letter from America, 1946-2004, 2007

Note that Oxford defines stomp in terms of stamping; at one time this was apparently a more common phrase, and may still be more correct in the UK; however, I believe that in the US stomp is now more idiomatic in this phrase. This supposition is somewhat supported by the Google Ngrams trend at the end of the last century. Corpus results are also likely skewed in favor of stamp in time due to instances of something needing or being given a stamp (ink or postage) in (good) time.


How about, "it gets people to move their feet"?


Toe tapping might also work.Though very similar to Foot tapping.

  • Please elaborate on how either phrase would be used. Oct 17, 2017 at 22:22

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