\ ˈdan(t)s How to pronounce dance (audio) , ˈdän(t)s \
danced; dancing

Essential Meaning of dance

1 : to move your body in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music that is being played He never learned how to dance. She has always loved to dance. See More ExamplesI like the song but it's really hard to dance to. Would you like to dance with me? = (more formally) Shall we dance? We danced the night away. [=we danced the entire evening]Hide
2 : to move with and guide (someone) as music plays : to dance with (someone) He danced her across the floor.
3 : to perform (a particular type of dance) dancing the waltz/polka/twist

Full Definition of dance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move one's body rhythmically usually to music : to engage in or perform a dance (see dance entry 2 sense 2) dancing to our favorite song Shall we dance?
2 : to move or seem to move up and down or about in a quick or lively manner dance for joy leaves dancing in the wind

transitive verb

1 : to perform or take part in as a dancer dance the waltz
2 : to cause to dance danced the baby on her knee
3 : to bring into a specified condition by dancing danced his way into her heart
dance attendance
: to attend in an eager and servile manner a celebrity used to having people dance attendance on him


noun, often attributive

Definition of dance (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of moving one's body rhythmically usually to music : an act or instance of dancing (see dance entry 1 sense 1) the couple's first dance as husband and wife May I have this dance?
2 : a series of rhythmic and patterned bodily movements usually performed to music slow dances dance moves
3 : a social gathering for dancing a high school dance
4 : a piece of music by which dancing may be guided
5 : the art of dancing studied dance in college

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Other Words from dance


danceable \ ˈdan(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce dance (audio) \ adjective
dancer noun

Synonyms for dance

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of dance in a Sentence

Verb He never learned how to dance. She has always loved to dance. I like the song but it's really hard to dance to. He danced her across the floor. She dances with a famous ballet company. She's a great actress, and she can dance and sing, too. Noun They can do all the popular dances. The only dance he knows how to do is the twist. How about one more dance? He stopped right in the middle of the dance to tie his shoe. He did a celebration dance in the end zone after scoring the touchdown. She studied dance in college.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This weekend, be prepared to sing, scream and dance to the sounds of nearly 100 of the greatest performers of punk, rock, metal, alternative and hip-hop. Holly Baumbach,, 17 Sep. 2021 The afternoon, when the air is warmer and the butterflies dance among the trees, is the perfect time of day to visit the sanctuaries. Anne Olivia Bauso, Travel + Leisure, 12 Sep. 2021 Nyiah Courtney, a 6-year-old girl who loved to dance, was fatally shot on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X Avenues in July. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 However, there is minimal to no acting, or dance actual ballet performances, or speaking lines, although on occasion there have been some of both. Tom Teicholz, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 An event where artists mingle with athletes; where people sing atop tables and huddle in bathrooms; where supermodels dance around a pharaoh’s tomb—and thousands upon thousands of pictures are taken, many by the attendees themselves. Marley Mariu, Vogue, 3 Sep. 2021 Visitors dance down Bourbon Street behind jazz parades and take tours of the French Quarter with its 300-year history. Beth Thames |, al, 1 Sep. 2021 Celebrate a variety of cultures and freedom of expression; marvel at displays of colorful costumes; bring your family for face painting, stilt-walking demos, and balloon art at the KidsFest; and dance to live music., 27 Aug. 2021 Oh, and for the record, the rooftop views gets even better once the sun goes down and the city lights dance off the water and the skyscrapers in the area. Essence, 13 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The album is generally upbeat and anchored by snappy, dance-friendly beats. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Sep. 2021 Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin, Russians who train in Michigan, are in second heading into Saturday’s free dance., 17 Sep. 2021 Las Vegas fans partied after an improbable close to their first NFL dance. Childs Walker,, 14 Sep. 2021 Ndiba, 28, and Vazquez, 25, then posted clips from the reception that followed afterward, where Moxam and Nwosu shared their first dance as a married couple together. Nicholas Rice,, 5 Sep. 2021 His first dance on the Academy stage could be in one or both directing and writing categories this year. Clayton Davis, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 Charlie Watts playing the drums is the sound of happiness, the aural equivalent of Snoopy doing his dance of joy. Mike Edison, Vulture, 25 Aug. 2021 Oliver imagines himself free-falling from a staircase and bouncing right back up, just as Yoann Bourgeois did in his 2018 dance set to Clair de Lune. Kristen Baldwin,, 23 Aug. 2021 Some of the pieces were dance-oriented, some were abstract, some were more-or-less plays and some just sketches or doodles. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dance


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dance

Verb and Noun

Middle English dauncen, from Anglo-French dancer

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Time Traveler for dance

Time Traveler

The first known use of dance was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near dance




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Statistics for dance

Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for dance


\ ˈdans How to pronounce dance (audio) \
danced; dancing

Kids Definition of dance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to step or move through a series of movements usually in time to music
2 : to move about or up and down quickly and lightly Butterflies danced in the garden.

Other Words from dance

dancer noun



Kids Definition of dance (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of stepping or moving through a series of movements usually in time to music
2 : a social gathering for dancing
3 : a set of movements or steps for dancing usually in time to special music The samba is a popular dance of Brazil.
4 : the art of dancing She is studying dance.

More from Merriam-Webster on dance

Nglish: Translation of dance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about dance


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