\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dance


danceable \ ˈdan(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce dance (audio) \ adjective
dancer noun

Synonyms for dance

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It is said that medieval scholastic philosophers debated how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Facebook’s Speech Policies Are Absurd," 7 May 2021 The visual features the band performing as alien holograms dance around them. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, "Coldplay Premiere ‘Higher Power’ Video in Space," 7 May 2021 But the real goal was still to pair up and dance to a slow song. Seth Rogen, The New Yorker, "Sons of Commandment: Tales from the Nineties Bar-Mitzvah Circuit," 4 May 2021 His father advised him to become a stagehand, but his mother was delighted by the idea, and Mr. d’Amboise left school to dance professionally, as did his sister Madeleine, known professionally as Ninette d’Amboise. New York Times, "Jacques d’Amboise, Charismatic Star of City Ballet, Is Dead at 86," 3 May 2021 González sat in the front row long after his observation period had passed, alone, watching the wrestlers dance., "Lucha Libre, yoga, dancing: Welcome to Mexico City’s vaccination sites," 2 May 2021 Each year, hundreds of thousands of mainly Ultra-Orthodox pilgrims come to the holy site to pray and dance during an all-night Lag b’Omer festival. Washington Post, "History of the religious festival that turned into a deadly stampede in Israel," 30 Apr. 2021 Large crowds traditionally light bonfires, pray and dance as part of the celebrations. Josef Federman, Anchorage Daily News, "Scores dead in crowd crush during religious festival in Israel," 30 Apr. 2021 Large crowds traditionally light bonfires, pray and dance as part of the celebrations. Joseph Krauss,, "Stampede at Israeli religious festival reportedly leaves at least 44 dead, 150 hospitalized," 30 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun New York Mets acting general managerZack Scott performed a delicate dance — and quite well, to be honest — in addressing Friday night’s incident between Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil. Justin Toscano, USA TODAY, "New York Mets moving on from 'rat vs. raccoon' debate between Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil," 9 May 2021 In one episode, Krasinski presided over a virtual wedding for a pair of Office superfans, then surprised them with a video montage of all his old castmates performing the dance from Jim and Pam’s ceremony. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "The Year That TV Saved Us," 8 May 2021 Randy said his daughter was a member of the dance team. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "'That smile was everything': Former Rattlers star Randy Gatewood grieving death of his 21-year-old daughter," 2 May 2021 Janaria Muhammad, 15, was the co-captain of the Austin East dance team. Chris James, CNN, "Knoxville, Tennessee, is reeling after another Black high school student is killed -- this time by police," 30 Apr. 2021 While principal at Lakeridge, Schiele was found liable of failing to protect a member of the school’s dance team from hazing. oregonlive, "Lake Oswego has a new school superintendent: Jennifer Schiele," 27 Apr. 2021 Jordan, from Minnetonka, was on the dance team at Wisconsin. Star Tribune, "No long-range sweet shooter changed basketball like Steph Curry has," 24 Apr. 2021 Four days after that, a co-captain of the dance team was shot dead. New York Times, "One High School, Five Students Fatally Shot," 23 Apr. 2021 Metallica band members recorded the national anthem for a performance that was played on the massive center-court screen, and the Warriors’ dance team strutted virtually. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, "Fans' return to Chase Center offers Warriors some sense of normalcy," 23 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dance

Time Traveler for dance

Time Traveler

The first known use of dance was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for dance

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!