Share this entry

danse macabre Line breaks: danse ma|cabre
Pronunciation: /ˌdɑːns məˈkɑːbr(ə)/

Definition of danse macabre in English:


Another term for dance of death.
Example sentences
  • Europe had suffered through a century of the Black Death, and woodcuts depict images of the danse macabre, in which the skeleton is seen cavorting indiscriminately with paupers, kings, and clergy.
  • The danse macabre, an artistic form portraying a personified Death, is commonly portrayed as a skeleton entering an everyday situation ‘in the midst of life’.
  • The Danse Macabre made its first appearance during the plague (Black Death) years of the fourteenth century. In Germany it was the Todtentanz; in Italy, danza della morte; and in England, the Dance of Death.


French, recorded from late Middle English in anglicized forms such as dance of Machabray, dance of Macaber (see also macabre).

Definition of danse macabre in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwɑːˈfəː
a hairdresser