\ 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 All Lisa Gonzalez, a single 53-year-old homeowner in Berlin, wants to do is blast Kool & The Gang, dance around her house and sing at the top of her lungs. Michael Hamad,, "Biden supporters in Connecticut feel the excitement but deep divisions remain in a nation split down the middle after four years under President Trump," 7 Nov. 2020 Cramps, bloating and discomfort often accompany menstruation; such symptoms certainly might have curtailed a dancer’s inclination to dance in skimpy clothing—and therefore reduced her tips. Sam Kean, WSJ, "‘Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis’ Review: Genitalia Tales," 2 Oct. 2020 Crowds dance in cheerful parades held during the day in numerous cities, or parade together on their way to cemeteries the night of Halloween. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Day of the Dead has everything to do with the afterlife, love and those colorful skulls you've seen around," 1 Nov. 2020 What does dance, which depends on bodies sharing space, look like in the age of social distancing? Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "How New York City Ballet Took On the Pandemic," 29 Oct. 2020 In the third movement of No. 25, Golka’s hands dance over each other. Matthew J. Palm,, "32@32: An epic journey with a musical mastermind," 22 Oct. 2020 The lights on trees, swirls and orbs will dance again to the Nutcracker on the lawn in front of the Lilly House. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "Winterlights at Newfields 2020: What to know about the holiday lights show in Indianapolis," 20 Oct. 2020 Children often enroll in classes for the chance to dance in the performances as mice, young partygoers and angels, among other supporting roles. Andrew Welsh-huggins, USA TODAY, "2020 blows keep coming: Christmas tradition 'Nutcracker' cancellations hit dance companies hard," 12 Oct. 2020 There will be no clapping, cheering, laughter, and Hillary Clinton will not dance to The Macarena. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, "How to watch the Democratic National Convention this week," 17 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The school offered Black history events, special science programs, anti-drug campaigns, and classes in African dance and social skills. Connie L. Schaffer, The Conversation, "Once a symbol of desegregation, Ruby Bridges’ school now reflects another battle engulfing public education," 13 Nov. 2020 Eitelman said her inspiration came from her great-grandfather, an Irish immigrant who landed at Ellis Island, and her own children, some of whom participate in Irish dance. Mary Sullivan,, "Laurel mom and daughter collect donations for care packages to send to Haiti, Liberia | Old Town," 11 Nov. 2020 News had just arrived that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had been declared the winner of the presidential election of 2020, and now the two were twirling in an impromptu public dance of triumph. Dan Barry, New York Times, "The Election Is Over. The Nation’s Rifts Remain.," 8 Nov. 2020 Annaliese Tuma, a graduate of Brunswick High School majoring in theatre dance and movement, earned the Suzanne Claflin Strew Dance Scholarship. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Local collegians join teams, earn scholarships and degrees," 7 Nov. 2020 For years, the companies have been involved in an intricate dance with his impulsive and often transgressive micro-rants. Steven Levy, Wired, "Social Media’s Dance With Donald Trump Is Getting Clumsier," 6 Nov. 2020 Now in its 10th year, the Going Dutch Festival is a celebration of the female voice in dance, music, theater and the visual arts. Kathy Cichon,, "Elgin’s female-focused Going Dutch Festival marks 10th anniversary," 29 Oct. 2020 Instead, coaches and athletics department administrators are left to engage in a careful dance, bound by a desire to maintain a good working relationship and an understanding of how their actions will be perceived by the public. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, "College football coaches' COVID-19 pay cuts are not always what they seem," 14 Oct. 2020 The fellows were singled out as leaders in their respective fields: Rodney Evans in filmmaking, Jerron Herman in dance and Kim in visual arts, among others. Laura Zornosa, Los Angeles Times, "Christine Sun Kim’s vision rewarded with fellowship for artists with disabilities," 14 Oct. 2020

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

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 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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