bal·​let·​o·​mane ba-ˈle-tə-ˌmān How to pronounce balletomane (audio)
: a devotee of ballet
balletomania noun

Did you know?

If you suspected that "balletomane" originated with the idea of a "mania" for ballet, you are correct. What you may not have guessed is that the language that inspired English speakers to borrow the word in the 1930s was Russian. Balletomane derives from the Russian noun "baletoman," which in turn combines the word for "ballet" ("balet") and the suffix -man, from "maniya" (meaning "mania"). The English words "mania" and "ballet" did not, however, come from Russian. ("Mania" comes from Latin and Greek, and "ballet" comes from French and Italian.) "Balletomane" is therefore somewhat unusual, both for its Russian origins and for the fact that it does not follow the more traditional "-phile" model for words meaning "someone who likes a specified thing."

Examples of balletomane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The actress and balletomane Jennifer Garner, who narrates the recorded program, will read the entire book, which Random House recently published in a partnership with the dance company. New York Times, 22 Oct. 2020 Together the balletomane couple had helped launch the SAB Diversity Initiative, which has allowed dozens of dancers, like Farley, to find their footing in the world of ballet. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 9 Mar. 2022 William Garnett Hamilton did not set out to be a Manhattan doctor, let alone a balletomane. New York Times, 13 Apr. 2022 Born in Chicago in 1925 and educated at Harvard, the bearded Gorey is remembered as a cat person, an avid reader, and the ultimate balletomane. Vogue, 30 Oct. 2021 Haas’ column was a high priority for Aline, a lifelong balletomane. David Lyman, The Enquirer, 11 Aug. 2020 The event is known to lure fashionable balletomanes, and last night followed suit. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 21 May 2019 Funds for these scholarships come from many places, but the most glamorous source is the ballet school’s annual Winter Ball, where black-tie balletomanes enjoy a gala dinner and performance given by students of the SAB. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 18 Mar. 2019 The relationship that proved most enduring was with Paul Magriel, an art dealer and balletomane. Mark Holgate, Vogue, 7 Jan. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'balletomane.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Russian baletomán, from balét ballet + -o- -o- + -man "one excessively enthusiastic (about whatever is denoted by the first element)," borrowed from Greek -manēs "excessively enthusiastic (about whatever is denoted by the first element)," adjective derivative from the base of maínesthai "to rage, be frenzied, be crazy" — more at mania

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of balletomane was in 1919


Dictionary Entries Near balletomane

Cite this Entry

“Balletomane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!