\ 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 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 Its founder, a 17-year-old who studies dance in New York City, raised $5,102 in May, Smith said. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, 4 July 2021 Set up a bubble machine so kids can pop the bubbles, dance in them or run around with them. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 June 2021 The hot water keeps bathers comfortable even as air temperatures drop below zero, snow and ice sweep upward from the pool edges, and the northern lights dance in the sky. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 28 June 2021 Diana Ordoaez, of Aurora, stood up among the crowd to dance to the music at RiverEdge. Linda Girardi,, 3 July 2021 The internet’s messiest pop star is back with a new album to dance to. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, 10 June 2021 As if that wasn't enough, Close then jumped up to dance to the song, doing Da Butt to cheers from other celebs who looked both thrilled and horrified. Katherine Singh,, 26 Apr. 2021 Joi Lewis, chief executive of Joi Unlimited, a coaching and consulting firm, is among several people who offer healing activities — from meditation to dance — to the activists who pass through Pimento’s doors. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2021 But what is your relationship to music, to dance, to beauty? New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Belly dance class for beginners (in person), 6:15-7:15 p.m. July 21 and Wednesdays through Dec. 29. Mary Lou Cruz,, 19 July 2021 DeBose is similarly grounded, in a part free from silliness, and her dance with her classroom is delightful in its exuberance. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 16 July 2021 Available now, the stations, which cover the pop, country, hip-hop, alternative, dance, classic rock, R&B and hard rock genres, feature top tracks from artists who have hit at least one billion streams on the service. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, 15 July 2021 Mads Mikkelsen does not cook human flesh, dance passionately on a pier to a pop song, or torture anyone by hitting them in the balls in Doctor Strange. Carrie Wittmer, Vulture, 14 July 2021 Her pursuits were reported to have been traditional dance, fencing, swimming and badminton. Seth Mydans, New York Times, 8 July 2021 Other state symbols include the state dance, the polka, and the state domestic animal, the dairy cow. Hope Karnopp, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2021 The couple’s dog, Betty, joined them during their first dance. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 6 July 2021 Wang took to Instagram to share additional images of Stefani and Shelton's nuptials, including a photo of the pair during their first dance. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 July 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

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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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.

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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