\ 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

Its view of women who dance to make money is unsentimental and never pitying. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Hustlers Proves Jennifer Lopez Has Been This Great All Along," 12 Sep. 2019 But the Texas defense looked weary in heat that danced around triple digits. Nick Moyle,, "No. 9 Texas falls to No. 6 LSU in instant classic," 7 Sep. 2019 The sisters and models were seen enjoying drinks in their seats, dancing along to performances, and enthusiastically cheering on other stars. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi and Bella Hadid's Reactions to the VMAs Were Almost Better than the Actual Show," 27 Aug. 2019 Inaba said after Lewis and Burke danced their salsa. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Controversial Sean Spicer dazzles with outfit, if not with dance," 16 Sep. 2019 Performance to show multiple dance styles The Olive Plaza Dancers will perform a variety of dancing styles such as line dancing and Cha Cha at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 14, at the Joslyn Adult Center, 1301 W. Olive Ave. Burbank Leader, "Burbank Area Calendar: Square-dancing class for singles and couples offered at senior center," 16 Sep. 2019 Kaylie likes scootering, biking, playing soccer, dancing to music and drawing. Boys & Girls Aid, oregonlive, "Kaylie, 13, hopes for a family that will help her become her best self: A Home of Their Own," 14 Sep. 2019 The show delivers upward of 40 songs in about 95 minutes; a freight-train pace that is — judging from the grey heads bobbing and chair-dancing through Thursday’s opening-night performance — a slice of heaven for Baby Boomers. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Theater review: ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’: huge helpings of tunes drenched in nostalgia gravy on the menu," 13 Sep. 2019 Watch Lopez's pole-dancing workout videos for proof of that. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Hustlers Director Lorene Scafaria Made the Best Movie of the Year—Here's How She Did It," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After nearly a year's wait for fans, ABC's dancing competition made a welcome return and opened with a twist: Celebrity-pro pairings weren't revealed until just before the first dance. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Controversial Sean Spicer dazzles with outfit, if not with dance," 16 Sep. 2019 With the show’s premiere set for Monday, Sailor Brinkley-Cook had to learn the dances in short order. Los Angeles Times, "Christie Brinkley is out of ‘DWTS,’ but daughter steps in to ‘save the day’," 16 Sep. 2019 The week will conclude with the annual homecoming dance on Saturday evening in the school gym. Pomerado News, "Broncos are celebrating ‘A Sweet Homecoming’," 12 Sep. 2019 What Kovgan's utterly transporting film does, through a thoughtful and dynamic combination of curated material and new performances, is radiate the rapturous power of dance. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cunningham': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 There’s never a bad time for a Beyoncé dance party. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Kids Totally Oblivious to Resort Employee's Ferocious Beyoncé Dance in Viral Video," 29 Aug. 2019 There’s going to be awesome people coming into town, and there are going to be dance parties. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "The latest album from Denver singer-songwriter Such is a sultry soul journey," 17 Aug. 2019 Like the new kid in town who is pointedly ignored at the high school dance, Trillium Community Health Plan is livid that it is being snubbed by some of Portland’s most established health care providers., "State faces insurrection of Portland hospitals over CCO plan," 16 Aug. 2019 Spicer’s professional dance partner, Lindsay Arnold, said in their prerecorded introduction video. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "‘Dancing With the Stars’ premiere: Ranking all the contestants from best to worst," 17 Sep. 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

What made you want to look up dance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving a confidence or trust

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