\ 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 The caller said the woman had danced in the hallway before passing out. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Worker at retirement community steals rent checks: Brook Park Police Blotter," 7 Feb. 2020 The trailer soon reveals that Violet and Finch start to form a sweet bond, which leads to scenic Indiana hikes, dancing together in a field, and a van filled with flowers. Mallory Carra, Teen Vogue, "All the Bright Places," 6 Feb. 2020 Mahomes dropped back, dancing around in the pocket as Hill traveled downfield. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Super Bowl: Four key plays that changed the game, helped Chiefs to 31-20 victory against 49ers," 3 Feb. 2020 Track your pet, your partner, or a random seagull with a range of follow modes, and get the ultimate slow-motion shot of friends dancing in their special way. Popular Science, "Get steady video with a handheld smartphone gimbal," 23 Jan. 2020 The high school juniors, known on TikTok as the @splashtwinz, even spend their school lunch period dancing in front of their phones. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Help! I’m Trapped Inside TikTok and I Can’t Get Out," 23 Jan. 2020 The university does not allow men to dance together in its own classes despite being a renowned school for ballroom dance. Time, "Mormon University Allowing Same-Sex Partners at Ballroom Dancing Competition, Overruling School's 'Honor Code'," 22 Jan. 2020 As a teen in New York City, Munson found work as a chorus girl, a relatively new and groundbreaking entertainment phenomenon imported from Europe: Beautiful women dancing in unison. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "The Story of Audrey Munson, the Supermodel You’ve Never Heard Of," 11 Jan. 2020 Apparently, the two met and danced in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles when Kelley was a contender for the upcoming season and attending a friend’s wedding while Weber was at a 10-year reunion. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "'The Bachelor' Episode 1 spoilers: Best, worst, weirdest entrances," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The dance and drill teams will compete at the Crowd Pleasers Dance Contest. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Frisco ISD high school orchestras, bands and dance teams have a packed week," 6 Feb. 2020 At the Gropius Bau museum and exhibition space, 17 performance artists will perform different Rituals of Care throughout the above dates, from dances and silent plays to sound sculptures and DJ sets. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "K-Pop Supergroup BTS' Newest World Tour Is All About Art," 22 Jan. 2020 Mature 9-year-olds will appreciate the music, dance and costumes. oregonlive, "‘Dragons Love Tacos’ is a play for kids, so we asked a kid to review it," 20 Jan. 2020 Each weekend’s festivities will also include workshops in both dance and instrumentation. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Folk Fest has everything from Cajun to country blues and bluegrass," 16 Jan. 2020 The most impactful part of the trip was meeting with students from a secondary school and uniting over games, music, and dance despite the language barrier between us. National Geographic, "2019 Capstone Winners," 9 Jan. 2020 Model Tiana Jones is a dance and fitness instructor based in New York City. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, "A Low-Impact Cardio Workout You Can Do Anywhere," 2 Jan. 2020 And on Monday, the light in everyone’s face was bright, from those who sat in folding chairs to watch the festivities from afar to those who lept into the dances and conversations. James Burky, The Denver Post, "Jewish community celebrates Hanukkah with menorah lighting at Colorado Capitol," 23 Dec. 2019 Morgan embraced the marching and the dance and could even be spotted during the television broadcast which is seen by over 3.5 million people. Melissa Whatley,, "Cockeysville: Baltimore Ravens lineman Orlando Brown Jr. reads to students at Pot Spring Elementary," 9 Dec. 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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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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

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