\ 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 chicken dance will, once again, be danced en masse, led this year by nine local celebrities on separate stages. Polly Campbell,, "Everything you need to know about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati," 16 Sep. 2019 Running back Roschon Johnson danced around the defense and continued to make a convincing case for remaining in the backfield. Nick Moyle,, "No. 12 Texas dominates Rice in final Big 12 tune-up," 14 Sep. 2019 Roethlisberger hit 9 of 14 passes for just 65 yards and was tap-dancing for his life on nearly every drop back. Jim Mcbride,, "Patriots have everything working in an opening rout of Steelers," 8 Sep. 2019 Lights, though neon, glow dim and relaxing. Purples, blues, pinks and greens dance across the walls. Kassi Jackson,, "Step inside La Sala Femme, a collaborative art installation in Hartford, and meet some of the black artists who brought it to life," 5 Sep. 2019 The 24th annual event features live music, dancing, children's area, games, sensory tent, cultural area, Border Collie herding demonstrations, authentic food, beer, wine and more at Military Park. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Here are 32 September festivals to kick off your fall," 2 Sep. 2019 Where: 2011 Leeland Details: National Battle of the Bands National marching bands will battle it out with powerful drum beats, impressive precision and dance moves at NRG Stadium. Houston Chronicle, "Family Fun: Rhett & Link, Queen Tribute," 29 Aug. 2019 Missy even brought out Alyson Stoner, who was the dancing little girl from some of Missy's most famous videos. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Missy Elliott's MTV VMAs 2019 Performance Proved She's One of Music's Most Iconic Powerhouses," 27 Aug. 2019 There's no room for a baleful Bozo when our most sane clown may be the dancing one killing children in Derry and our most insane clowns have formed a posse. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The End of 'Baskets' and the Struggle of Loving Niche TV," 22 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The music and rhythms could be simple and tailored for the dance floor, but the lyrics were often from another planet., "Ric Ocasek was a tall, gangly genius who became a master of nonchalance, a savant of alienation, and a beatnik-spiced songwriter the likes of which rock ’n’ roll had rarely seen.," 17 Sep. 2019 When Pete Wentz took the stage to DJ around 10:30, the dance floor was packed with excited fans. Candace Jordan,, "Green Tie Ball helps beautify Chicago with Pete Wentz and Alligator Robb," 16 Sep. 2019 His music avoided the slick production that made the genre so leaden in the ’90s, and instead took inspiration from the ’70s, as Hunt created a dance-floor ready funky sort of soulful music. Houston Chronicle, "The Must List: Tinariwen, ‘Mapa Wiya’," 12 Sep. 2019 First off, everyone has a different definition of cheating, and flirting can range from a simple smile to grinding on the dance floor. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Is Flirting Cheating?," 9 Sep. 2019 DJ Fan Service will enchant the dance floor, which will be decked out with Harry Potter props and decor including a sorting hat. Anchorage Daily News, "Autumn activities are back: Fungus fair, fall harvest tea and moose madness," 5 Sep. 2019 The lounge seating area will soon host live music acts on an adjoining stage/dance floor. John Monaghan,, "Royal Oak bowling alley's $1.4M vintage overhaul is a 'feast for the eyes'," 22 Aug. 2019 While the dance floor may be a long way from D.C., Spicer clearly hasn't shaken his association with the Trump presidency. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Sean Spicer joins "Dancing with the Stars" upcoming season — and the show's host isn't happy about it," 21 Aug. 2019 This 5,000-square-foot club has a dance floor, DJ booth, stage, LED screens and lighting. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "We went to every single bar on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Here's your guide," 16 Aug. 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


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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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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