\ 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

Carol loved bowling, knitting, gardening, dancing the Cha Cha and traveling to Maine and Rhode Island to visit her close friends, Celine and Jean., "Carol L. Rodrigue," 8 Aug. 2019 Liv on murdered ballroom dancer brain is especially delightful, as she strong-arms Ravi—who can't dance—into going undercover with her for a dance competition. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: iZombie sets up strong fifth season, then whiffs the series finale," 5 Aug. 2019 Ride on: Break-dancing performances are a common scene on BART trains these days, with young men dancing to boom box beats and performing gymnastic tricks inside the moving BART car, then passing the cup for tips. Phil Matier,, "All that noise coming from Washington turning Calif. voters numb," 4 Aug. 2019 Each crosswalk has its own symbol: a heart, a peace sign, a music note and a dancing pedestrian figure. Susannah Bryan,, "These funky murals are for the streets. And maybe they’ll kick drivers into slow gear.," 4 Aug. 2019 According to Payton, producers noticed the pair after Leslie was filmed complaining that the show was interfering with her daughter’s dance education. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "Once Portrayed as a Bully, 'Dance Moms' Payton Ackerman Has Moved Far Away From the ALDC," 3 Aug. 2019 Seven-year-old Taylor Hayes, who was shot while riding in the back seat of a car, loved to sing and dance. Luke Broadwater,, "Trump compares Baltimore’s homicide rate to Afghanistan’s, using city as punch line in Ohio campaign rally," 2 Aug. 2019 Billie used to perform with a competitive dance company dancing o genres like ballet, tap and hip-hop. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Billie Eilish Opened Up About Depression, Fame and a “Creepy Older Guy” Showing Up At Her House In a New Interview," 1 Aug. 2019 The fair included a revised circle booth exhibition design plus a silent auction, music, dancing by local student groups and more. Karie Angell Luc,, "Glenview Art League hosts summer fair, includes local artists and from other states," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Monday-Friday, live dance music at 9:30 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m. First United Methodist Church, 535 Old San Francisco Road, Sunnyvale. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "Cupertino/Sunnyvale calendar of events for the week of Aug. 9," 9 Aug. 2019 But when the electronic dance music disc jockey begins to spin, the animal chorus falls mostly silent, as if entranced by a higher power. Hallie Miller,, "The EDM industry tends to be male-centric. Here’s how Baltimore’s female DJs are trying to combat that.," 7 Aug. 2019 Festive dance music abruptly ending, leaving the lone sound the surging voice of a soloist. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: A powerful Passion closes Minnesota Orchestra’s Latin Sommerfest," 3 Aug. 2019 The festival, which attracts thousands of locals and visitors dressed in colorful outfits to hear electronic dance music, had been staged in Bayfront Park in downtown since 2001, after two years in Miami Beach. Johnny Diaz,, "Miami says yes to hosting Ultra Music Festival in 2020," 26 July 2019 This is bound to be a combustible evening of dance music., "Boulevards bringing sexy good-time funk to Cafe Nine," 12 July 2019 What to expect at the nightclub Started in 1996, Relentless Beats is a local music promotion company lead by Thomas Turner that focuses on electronic dance music and books big label DJs for shows and festivals. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Track Club is coming to the old DeSoto Central Market building. Here's everything we know," 9 July 2019 There are sober nightclubs, sober early-morning dance parties, Instagram influencers who anchor their online identities with an eschewal of alcohol. Laura Reiley, The Denver Post, "Millennials have sparked a sober revolution, and alcohol brands are starting to notice," 27 June 2019 And behind the glass, choreographing the dance party has been David Griffin, the Pelicans’ VP of basketball operations. Jeff Duncan,, "With Zion at center stage, David Griffin as choreographer, Pelicans fans are ready to dance," 21 June 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).


a period when something is suspended

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