contra dance


con·​tra dance ˈkän-trə-ˌdan(t)s How to pronounce contra dance (audio)
variants or contredanse
ˈkän-trə-ˌdan(t)s How to pronounce contra dance (audio)
 also  kōⁿ-trə-ˈdäⁿs
: a folk dance in which couples face each other in two lines or a square
: a piece of music for a contra dance

Examples of contra dance in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Using big on-screen labels, Baker signals as these people enter and exit Lacy’s life — rivals for Janet’s attention — in a pattern that comes to resemble the regional contra dance depicted in the final scene. Peter Debruge, Variety, 1 Sep. 2023 Erin Clark/Globe Staff People dance along with the band Kingfisher, a folk and contra dance group, during PorchFest in Somerville on Saturday. Lauren Booker,, 14 May 2023 Birmingham Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD) contra dance with Red Mountain Yellowhammers and caller Jef Hodge. Mary Colurso |, al, 27 Dec. 2021 Live music, inspired by traditional sea shanties and early-New England contra dance tunes, accompanies the story, as the cast and audience walk through the preserved landscapes., 14 July 2021 Mud in Yer Eye, providing contra dance and folk music to Clevelanders since 1978, returns for another year of fun and frivolity., 10 Sep. 2019 After a pre-ball dance lesson, Bangers & Mash waltzes, polkas, mixers, quadrilles, country & contra dances, and other popular 19th-century couple and set dances. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, 25 Aug. 2019 DANCE Bridgewater Community Dance Series features folk, square, and contra dance. Robert Knox,, 23 Mar. 2018 Members of the contra dance group, known as FOOTMAD, will be on the floor tonight at the downtown YWCA, with music provided by the Red Mountain Yellowhammers. Mary Colurso |,, 31 Dec. 2017

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

Word History


French contredanse, by folk etymology from English country-dance

First Known Use

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contra dance was in 1803

Dictionary Entries Near contra dance

Cite this Entry

“Contra dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on contra dance

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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