\ 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

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

On June 6, the Wall Street Journal’s Vatican correspondent, Francis Rocca, retweeted a video of a dad dancing for his child who was born with Down syndrome and had been diagnosed with leukemia. Sam Sweeney, National Review, "Close Your Social-Media Accounts," 10 June 2019 The group -- still feeling the adrenaline rush -- had dinner together and danced for hours at a club before finally settling at a hostel for the night. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "When a solo traveler went missing in Peru, it changed her family's lives completely," 9 June 2019 At just 7, she's already been dancing for 5 years and was named the 2018 Petite National Dancer of the Year at Rainbow Nationals. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Meet The Cast of 'Dance Moms' Season 8," 19 May 2019 The first scenes start just as his life did, born on a train in rural Russia and then catapulted to the pinnacle of the ballet world, dancing for the world famous Kirov (now Mariinsky) and the Bolshoi ballets during the 1950s. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Anna Wintour, Patti Smith, and Sarah Jessica Parker Attend a Screening for Ralph Fiennes’s White Crow," 24 Apr. 2019 The duo danced for the big screen and took turns playfully stroking each other’s beards . Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "Truex makes move to Joe Gibbs Racing with championship goal," 11 Feb. 2019 Earlier this year, a casting call poster for the movie circulated on Twitter, requesting for actors between 15-25 years old who are able to sing and dance for the roles of Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rita Moreno Has Officially Joined Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Remake," 28 Nov. 2018 The lights start to dance every hour on the hour for five minutes. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "Paris Study Abroad: 7 Things to Do That Won’t Take All Your Euros," 12 Oct. 2018 Jewell sees an opportunity for the Orlando Ballet School to expand, offering more for professional hopefuls as well as those who dance for fun. Matthew J. Palm,, "Shane Jewell is Orlando Ballet's new executive director," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Participate in an upbeat dance class that begins with a warm up to strengthen, stretch and improve flexibility and then moves into footwork, rhythm and isolations. Alan Goch,, "Palm Beach central and north county events for June 19-25," 14 June 2019 One application deputizes Alexa as a teaching assistant for young grade-school kids, offering timers and countdowns, and even guided meditation and dance sessions. Matt Day,, "Alexa in the classroom? Amazon’s voice assistant leads kids’ story time," 14 June 2019 One application deputizes Alexa as a teaching assistant for young grade-school kids, offering timers and countdowns, and even guided meditation and dance sessions. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Alexa in the classroom? Amazon’s voice assistant leads kids’ story time," 14 June 2019 Benita Buckner is project manager and lead dance artist for Resounding Strength — Resilient Song. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "Night arts fest Northern Spark will shine in Rondo and Minneapolis this weekend," 13 June 2019 For 15 years, Leung lived the almost monastic life of an elite athlete, training twice a day, for 35 hours a week, missing most of the traditional teenage rites of passage like football games and school dances. Alice Park, Time, "Can Anyone Save the Scandal-Plagued USA Gymnastics? Li Li Leung Is Determined to Try," 13 June 2019 The company provides out-of-the-box employee-wide activities (escape rooms, cooking classes, dance classes, improv activities etc.), free lunches every Friday, jean days and Super Bowl drawings. Leigh Farr, azcentral, "Small Company Rankings," 13 June 2019 Barnstorm Dance Fest Dance Source Houston’s annual Barnstorm Dance Fest offers a great snapshot of the diversity of contemporary dance happening in Houston, with a few visitors in the mix. Houston Chronicle, "The Must List: The Wagoneers, Rubén Blades, Monsieur Periné," 13 June 2019 Add to it some axe throwing, a dance number, arrests, and a lot more. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch on Wednesday: Liza and Charles are finally together for the new season of Younger," 12 June 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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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 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

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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showing courage and determination

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