Definition of dance in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɑːns/


[no object]
1Move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps: all the men wanted her to dance with them
More example sentences
  • We held our drinks with our other hands and danced together rhythmically and sultrily to the music, in full view of the young guys.
  • This special effect was missing here as the troupe danced to the music flowing from the CD.
  • A few years later, her brother came to school one day, heard the music, and started dancing.
trip, sway, spin, whirl, twirl, pirouette, gyrate
informal bop, disco, rock, shake a leg, hoof it, cut a rug, trip the light fantastic
North American informal get down, step it
archaic foot it, tread a measure
1.1 [with object] Perform (a particular dance or a role in a ballet): they danced a tango
More example sentences
  • Musical groups danced the samba all the way, beating bongo drums and shaking tambourines.
  • It is not the case that we in Brazil do not dance the samba anymore.
  • As part of the city's celebration Margot Fonteyn danced Swan Lake with the Lake as a backdrop.
1.2 [with object and adverbial of direction] Lead (a dancing partner) in a particular direction: I danced her out of the room
More example sentences
  • Without evening realizing it, he began to take lead and was dancing me around the room.
2 [with adverbial of direction] (Of a person) move in a quick and lively way: Sheila danced in gaily
More example sentences
  • Maybe he could benefit from being one of the ‘people dancing around in circles, holding hands with daisy chains in their hair’.
  • It will bring two hours of the great musical classics as well as a selection from new shows that have not yet reached the UK will get people dancing in the aisles.
  • The town received Unicef assistance after the Second World War, inspiring Jitka to paint children dancing around a maypole.
caper, cavort, frisk, frolic, skip, prance, romp, gambol, jig, bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, trip, bounce
rare rollick
2.1Move up and down lightly and quickly in the air: midges danced over the stream
More example sentences
  • The only light were coming from a couple of torches; the flames dancing and flickering in the night.
  • Every day the sun sets behind blurred clouds of stonefly, caddis, midge or mayfly dancing against the horizon.
  • This is a place for snow, ice hardened drifts, yet on a January day, midges danced over the streams.
flicker, sparkle, twinkle, shimmer, leap, ripple, dart, play, flick, flit, quiver, jiggle, joggle, oscillate
2.2(Of someone’s eyes) sparkle with pleasure or excitement: he grinned, his grey eyes dancing
More example sentences
  • Arial interrupted, her eyes dancing with excitement.
  • Glancing over at him, she grinned, her eyes dancing with wicked pleasure.
  • Jessica leaned forward again, eyes dancing with excitement for her cousin.


1A series of steps and movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music: everyone was taking part in the dance
More example sentences
  • The poem I wrote this morning - Barong Dance is about the link between the music and the dance in Balinese Dance dramas.
  • Once there, they will perform a series of historic dances to music by the QuintEssential Sackbut & Cornett Ensemble.
  • The dance steps matched the beat as it sped up and everything intensified with complexity.
1.1An act of dancing: they rolled back the carpet and had a dance
More example sentences
  • This emotion seeps out whenever I express myself, in my art, my dance, and my writing.
  • The team, which is currently all-female, performed a dance and cheer routine to open the event and to entertain the audience during the interval.
  • Any members who wish to perform a dance sing a song or entertain on the night are welcome.
1.2A particular sequence of steps and movements constituting a particular form of dancing: dances include the waltz, the quickstep, and the foxtrot
More example sentences
  • In that version, some of the choreographic dance sequence and all the motion were edited backward.
  • If that contest also ends in a tie, then then each side picks one Justice to re-enact the final dance sequence from Flashdance.
  • But the way things turned out is all the more poignant if you see the enthusiasm she brought to Bitter Rice, as well as the steamy energy of the dance sequences.
1.3 [mass noun] Dance steps and movements considered as an activity or art form: the rules of classical dance
More example sentences
  • For 10 days, this town is inundated with cultural activities, of which dance is a big part, from classical ballet to flamenco.
  • Michelle believes that dance is a worthwhile activity for everyone.
  • Yes, dance is a physical art form, but it's also a visual one.
1.4A social gathering at which people dance: she met her husband at a dance
More example sentences
  • After months of seeing Brent and Eve at all of the parties and dances and other social events, she'd had become quite content in her single status.
  • Stacks of photos showed my parents and their friends at various dances, parties, and social gatherings in the 1950s.
  • P.J. also plays his own show and entertains at weddings, birthday parties, socials, pubs, dances and concerts with much for young and not so young.
ball, discotheque;
tea dance, dinner dance, masked ball, masquerade;
North American  prom, hoedown;
French thé dansant
informal disco, hop, bop
1.5A set of lively movements resembling a dance: he gesticulated comically and did a little dance
More example sentences
  • Hehehe, you can't see, but I'm doing a birthday dance right now.
  • She wished Meredith were there so that they could do their sign language dance together.
  • His voice dips and soars as he slides and skitters across the stage; his quirky dance steps bring to mind David Byrne during his "Talking Head" days.
1.6A piece of music for dancing to: the last dance had been played
More example sentences
  • The music is an ecstatic dance, occasionally breaking out into full-throated ardent song.
  • The concert, which will include Ukranian folk songs and dances, as well as some English music suitable for the run up to Christmas, will be free.
  • As Leadbelly he could sing and play the blues, as well as Southern folk songs and dances from a variety of genres.
1.7 (also dance music) [mass noun] A type of popular music intended for dancing to in clubs, typically having a repetitive beat and a synthesized backing track that features sound samples.
Example sentences
  • They proved that you can make dance music with a hip-hop tip, a rock tip or an ambient tip; you can go wherever you want with it.
  • The spotlight is focused on jazz or Afro-Cuban fusion or Celtic dance music or rai.
  • This northeast coast of Brazil, the home of the Brazilian beat, samba and dance music.



dance attendance on

chiefly British Do one’s utmost to please someone by attending to all their requests: she’s got that man dancing attendance on her
More example sentences
  • It is odd how they happily dance attendance on unelected newspaper editors, television interviewers and City tycoons.
  • Essex's determination not simply to dance attendance on his ageing sovereign captured the public imagination and won him a large following among soldiers.
  • If you're so concerned, why don't you stop dancing attendance on the man and go your own way?

dance to someone's tune

Comply completely with someone’s demands: she had to stay on her best behaviour and dance to his tune
More example sentences
  • I denied vigorously that we were dancing to their tune - I protested that I was acting only in the long-term interests of the BBC.
  • He has the world's only superpower dancing to his tune.
  • He not only held the finalists in a trance, but also the audience that comprised students and teachers dancing to his tune.

lead someone a dance (or a merry dance)

British Cause someone a great deal of trouble or worry: Gwen was leading him a merry dance
More example sentences
  • Now it is the turn of the international financial markets to be led a merry dance by Argentina.
  • The solicitors then tried to find the conveyancing file. They were led a merry dance in their search for this file, and in the end they eventually located it through approaching a successor firm.
  • Carlow were led a merry dance by Offaly in the semi-final of the Leinster Vocational Schools SFC in Stradbally on Friday.



Example sentences
  • They continue to set new benchmarks for excitement, innovation and sheer danceability.
  • In 1935 she joined the Chick Webb band, known for its up-tempo solos and the danceability of its music.
  • Good vibes and danceability are the band's stock in trade but they are also masters of mixing up the genres.


Pronunciation: /ˈdɑːnsəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • I'm making music more danceable, but still maintain the integrity of the lyric.
  • Taavo's set will focus on the vaguely danceable roots of the genre without neglecting some of the more modern highlights.
  • This stuff doesn't merely placate the listener with predictable, danceable nursery rhymes but lashes out and lacerates the eardrum relentlessly.


Example sentences
  • I am not a dancer and the shows that are coming over are very dancey.
  • It did start to rain so we headed for a tent, dancey music blaring.
  • And I listen to Radio One a lot on tour, so I'm starting to get into dancey stuff.


Middle English: from Old French dancer (verb), dance (noun), of unknown origin.

  • The word dance stepped into English from French in the Middle Ages. The dance of death was a medieval image in which Death led all types of people to the grave, emphasizing that everyone was equally faced with death. It was also known under its French name danse macabre ( see macabre). The unlucky person who had to dance attendance on someone was kept waiting in an antechamber before being called in to speak to the elevated personage they had come to see. There they would no doubt fidget and kick their heels, as if dancing.

Words that rhyme with dance

advance, Afrikaans, à outrance, chance, enhance, entrance, faience, France, glance, lance, mischance, outdance, perchance, prance, Provence, stance, trance

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dance

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