\ 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 Perhaps Wiig’s ballet background gave her the tools to craft her devastating physical impressions of stars such as Liza Minnelli, with tipsy, exaggerated diva gestures, and a hip-swinging, go-go-dancing Ann-Margret. Washington Post, "These 18 movie stars are also amazing dancers. That’s their real superpower.," 9 Jan. 2020 Now, Zoey has to figure out if this new internal musical is a choral curse or a blessing in dancing disguise. Sarah Midkiff,, "Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist," 7 Jan. 2020 On The Ellen Show, Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong actually participated in one of her masked singer segments that featured Howie Mandel as the secret dancing celeb. Lynette Rice,, "Now Fox is doing The Masked Singer for dancers (thanks, Ellen DeGeneres!)," 7 Jan. 2020 My first ever dance music event was EDC 2009 at the LA Coliseum. Valerie Lee, Billboard, "10 of the Hottest Photographers In Dance Music Share Their Advice on Making It in the Scene," 7 Jan. 2020 The performance featured a parade of soloists who took center stage with their instruments and ended with kids who attended the concert dancing beside the players. Nick Mccool,, "Newton South jazz ensemble’s holiday concert raises funds for Panama trip," 21 Dec. 2019 On opening night, the audience cheered for memorable moments plucked right from the movie — half-disguised Daniel planting his face in a pie, Mrs. Doubtfire dancing while vacuuming. Emily Rome, The Hollywood Reporter, "Broadway-Bound 'Mrs. Doubtfire' Musical Bows in Seattle," 17 Dec. 2019 Dance stores and dance schools around the country have also caught on and have joined in the Donate2Dance mission. Ava And Sophia Paley, Seventeen, "Teen Dancers Create Nonprofit That Donates Dance Clothes to Dancers Around the World," 17 Dec. 2019 Ingram’s interview was then briefly interrupted by dancing linebacker Matthew Judon, who continued to show off his moves in the background. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Ravens RB Mark Ingram takes the mic to interview Lamar Jackson after win: ‘Tell me how it feel, L Freaky’," 13 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Steve and Barbara Durham took to the dance floor recently at a holiday party hosted by Lucy and Henry Billingsley, gyrating to the beat of Emerald City. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "After facing down death, Steve Durham renews his passion for life, Horatio Alger," 5 Jan. 2020 New Year's Eve festivities in the Magic Kingdom include a fireworks display and dance parties. Curtis Tate, USA TODAY, "Disney World's Magic Kingdom turns away guests on New Year's Eve," 31 Dec. 2019 Throughout the season, fans constantly called out Brown and Bersten's chemistry on and off the dance floor. Leah Rocketto, Woman's Day, "'DWTS' Winner Alan Bersten Had a Hannah Brown Ornament On His Christmas Tree," 30 Dec. 2019 New Year’s Eve Family Celebration Event features kids balloon drop, dance party and appearances by Sharkey and Nero. Houston Chronicle, "Family Fun: Trolls Live!, New Year’s Eve Events Across Houston," 26 Dec. 2019 The Crescent Ballroom is set to turn into a planetarium and The Van Buren will host a 70's disco dance party. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "New Years Eve 2020: Here are 24 parties in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale," 24 Dec. 2019 Families will be able to create party hats and noisemakers in the Be a Maker Space, meet Martin, the GEICO gecko and enjoy a dance party. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Your kids can celebrate the new year and be in bed well before midnight with kid-friendly New Year's Eve events around Milwaukee," 23 Dec. 2019 Amid a strong cast, Willa Fitzgerald is the standout as the enigmatic Colette, who alternates between spurring her cheerleaders to victory and inviting them over for drunken dance parties. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "Uncertain Attraction in “Work in Progress” and “Dare Me”," 16 Dec. 2019 Sheraton Hartford Hotel located at Bradley International Airport, 1 Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, offers a New Year’s Eve package including a ’70s disco dance party. Leeanne Griffin,, "Connecticut restaurants celebrating New Year’s Eve with dinner, dancing and champagne toasts," 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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 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

Comments on dance

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