\ˈdan(t)s, 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 \ adjective
dancer noun

Synonyms for dance

Synonyms: Verb

foot (it), hoof (it), step

Synonyms: Noun

ball, cotillion (also cotillon), formal, hop, prom

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Examples of dance in a Sentence


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.


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

Want to dance around with friends and family after your Thanksgiving dinner? Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "You Need To See How This Bookshelf Transforms Into A Table," 26 Oct. 2018 And just as the rest of the home invites us to dance around barefoot in a sundress (an activity that Keltie proudly admits to), the bedroom is simply an extension of that vibe. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "This is How TV Personality Keltie Knight Crafted the Bedroom of Her Dreams," 25 Oct. 2018 Get ready to dance a bit in your seat while watching. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Battlefield V teases its battle royale mode, Deep Silver acquires TimeSplitters," 17 Aug. 2018 Clearly, 2018 Britney is living by the same mantra, and spritzing a model's abs while dancing in leather underwear is her prerogative. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Britney Spears Announced Her New Fragrance, My Prerogative, in the Most Britney Spears Way Ever," 16 July 2018 The musical program will be followed by a banquet and then dancing at the Manchester Country Club. Kathleen Mcwilliams, Courant Community, "New England's Oldest Cultural German Organization Celebrates 160 Years," 8 June 2018 Police have said the agent was dancing at the downtown club early Saturday when the gun fell from the agent's waistband holster onto the floor., "FBI Agent Whose Gun Went Off At Nightclub Tested for Alcohol," 4 June 2018 The production’s real pleasure comes from watching the two actors dance around Saracho’s seemingly casual, but politically charged, negotiations. The Seattle Times, "Everything you need to know about the hottest tickets in town: Seattle events for November 2018," 26 Oct. 2018 While dancing around the stage and waving to fans, the singer, whose new album, Cry Pretty, comes out September 14, has never looked happier. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood (and Her Baby Bump!) Made a Surprise Appearance on Stage With Keith Urban," 27 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Performances The Chanukah Party SAT Community multimedia celebration, live stand-up comedy, musical performances, a dance party, food, 8 p.m. Saturday, Russian Community Center, 704 19th Ave. Madeline Mckenzie, The Seattle Times, "Community calendar: Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, Winter Solstice Night Market, Jingle Bell Run," 5 Dec. 2018 In her music video, Ciara hosts the world’s coolest pep rally, leading a dance team in a high school gym in front of a marching band. Vogue, "Watch Ciara Break Down 5 Iconic Dance Moves to Her New Single, “Dose”," 29 Oct. 2018 The only non-vocal act to get the honor is aerial dance team Zurcaroh — given by the show's host Tyra Banks. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Fans Are Peeved Olivia Munn Gave Angel City Chorale the Golden Buzzer," 25 July 2018 In a new Dancers Against Cancer PSA, the sisters spend quality time with young dancers — Brooke Kotrla, Maggie Kudirka, Ariella Stein, Joelle Truong, Dylan Balka and the dance team from MusEffect — who are currently battling cancer or in remission. Melody Chiu,, "Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler Support Young Dancers Battling Cancer in Touching PSA," 5 July 2018 Marquicia Jones-Woods: Director of Q-Kidz dance team. Cameron Knight,, "Mayor reveals 13 picks to the FC Cincinnati Community Coalition," 27 June 2018 Say goodbye Silver Dancers, hello family friendly ‘hype team’ In May, the San Antonio Spurs ushered their dance team, the Silver Dancers, out the door. Shira Springer,, "Here are nine changes that would be good for women’s sports," 22 June 2018 The loudest the crowd got is when members of a dance team threw Big Baller Brand T-shirts into the stands. USA TODAY, "LaVar Ball's Junior Basketball Association debuts with a freewheeling style in front of small crowd," 22 June 2018 MG Road throws a very good dance party on Saturdays. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Asheville, the Arts-Filled City Where Pottery Is Thriving," 23 Nov. 2018

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


Middle English dauncen, from Anglo-French dancer


see dance entry 1

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Statistics for dance

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dance

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

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More Definitions for dance



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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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a knickknack or trinket

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