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

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 danceable (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 Originally from Queens, Tubridy has danced her way through the Christmas season while pregnant—twice. Rosie Colosi, NBC News, "Find out how this Rockette mom of 3 kids under 3 calms the chaos," 12 Dec. 2019 Yes, there were also dancing ferrets, and viral cat Marley. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "TikTok Releases Its List of 2019's Top Memes, Videos, Dance Challenges and More," 10 Dec. 2019 Therapists sometimes dance with their clients and at other times observe. Adrianna Mendrek, Quartz, "Dancing could treat depression and other brain diseases," 9 Dec. 2019 After the auction, everyone got up and started dancing. Willie Brown,, "Kamala Harris wasn’t cut out for it. Here’s what she should do now," 7 Dec. 2019 Others of us sampled great cabernet sauvignon in Napa, California, danced in the kitchen, uncovered an appreciation for country music, and found new ways to love Harry Potter. The Editors, Outside Online, "Everything Our Editors Loved in November," 7 Dec. 2019 The son marries and everyone dances all night at the wedding. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Three very different holiday gift-giving books for under $20," 7 Dec. 2019 Train drivers can retire at 52, public electric and gas workers at 57, and members of the national ballet, who start dancing at a very young age, as early as age 42. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "French Strike Aims to Save an Envied, but Convoluted, Approach to Pensions," 6 Dec. 2019 And then there's Istanbul Lindy Hoppers, another dance school with an electroswing influence (swing danced to house or hip hop) that hosts events in Istanbul and beach parties on the Black Sea. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Unlikely New Dance Scene Sweeping Istanbul," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The final movement was a feisty dance, like a Russified Chopin mazurka, with spiraling runs and bursts of chords, played by Mr. Trifonov with fire and élan, though not a trace of showiness for its own sake. New York Times, "A Star Pianist Brings Soft-Spoken Virtuosity to Scriabin," 28 Nov. 2019 Since then, Shooting Without Bullets has grown into a network of young creatives who act, sing, rap and dance, along with shooting pictures as a form of activism. cleveland, "Shooting Without Bullets aims for visual truths: Cleveland Champions," 27 Nov. 2019 Oregon players hug, high-five, dance, pose for pictures with fans and mug for television cameras after the Ducks sew up a berth in the BCS national championship game. oregonlive, "Reliving the 10 best Civil War football games since 2000," 26 Nov. 2019 Afterward, there’s more holiday entertainment, including fireworks and, at the Golden History Museum & Park, chestnut roasting, live blacksmithing, music and dance, plus daytime Christmas parades at 11 a.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. John Wenzel, The Know, "10 Colorado holiday light displays you have to check out this season," 24 Nov. 2019 The routine included cheer, dance, tumbling, flips and stunts. Alex Kushel,, "East Boynton Wildcats cheerleading places second in competition," 22 Nov. 2019 The latest findings on the cultural basis of singing have ascertained that certain song types—whether lullaby, dance, love or healing melodies—turn up in all cultures. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "What Makes a Song? It’s the Same Recipe in Every Culture," 21 Nov. 2019 Every dance on #DWTS in imbued with some of that energy. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katie Holmes Is Hotter Than Ever in a Blazer and a Bra Ensemble on Instagam," 21 Nov. 2019 The theater program will be incorporated into the classroom as well as after-school activities, as the students sing, dance, act, build sets and basically run the show. Melissa Whatley,, "Two Cockeysville-area success stories: ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and Race for Education," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for dance

Last Updated

15 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dance


How to pronounce dance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move your body in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music that is being played
: to move with and guide (someone) as music plays : to dance with (someone)
: to perform (a particular type of dance)



English Language Learners Definition of dance (Entry 2 of 2)

: a series of movements that are done as music is playing : a way of dancing
: an act of dancing
: the art or activity of dancing


\ 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dance

Spanish Central: Translation of dance

Nglish: Translation of dance for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on dance

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delight or enjoyment

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