\ 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

Wizards and witches can get down to dancing at this Harry Potter themed costume party. Anchorage Daily News, "Autumn activities are back: Fungus fair, fall harvest tea and moose madness," 5 Sep. 2019 There's a nice groundswell and a lot of dancing action on the bait. al, "Hurricane Dorian takes aim at Carolinas; relief effort underway in Bahamas," 5 Sep. 2019 The woman dancing around the picket line is Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. CBS News, "Sara Nelson, the new face of labor unions," 1 Sep. 2019 Lohan also shared a video of herself dancing along to the upcoming single on her Instagram Thursday. Lexy Perez, The Hollywood Reporter, "Lindsay Lohan Set to Make Music Return With New Single "Xanax"," 30 Aug. 2019 One central figure in the painting is a woman in a yellow dress and white shoes, dancing at the front of the tall stage, her back to the viewer. Los Angeles Times, "Ernie Barnes’ ‘Sugar Shack’: Why museum-goers line up to see ex-NFL player’s painting," 28 Aug. 2019 Explore Detroit’s roots at the Motown Museum or dance the night away at the annual Movement Electronic Music Festival. National Geographic, "Hear the 10 essential sounds of America," 23 Aug. 2019 Eat, drink and dance at Varsity Tavern and enjoy people watching along Mill Avenue from the second-story patio. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "We went to every single bar on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Here's your guide," 16 Aug. 2019 The Pittsburgh native began dancing at just 2 years old, and even fast tracked her potty training to do so. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "'Dance Moms' Sarah Georgiana Has Become the Center of Recent Drama," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now in her third year on the dance team, Scott said nothing like this has ever happened to her at a football or basketball game. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Meet Louisville's Elizabeth Scott, the dancer who suffered a broken nose on national TV," 3 Sep. 2019 Former British prime minister Theresa May busted out some awkward dance moves in South Africa, while Germany’s Angela Merkel toured Senegal and Ghana just days afterward. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Inside China’s growing presence in Africa," 29 Aug. 2019 Nearby, Prince George and Princess Charlotte kicked a soccer ball and showed off some dance moves before heading to the car for a picnic. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "US hack attack hobbles Iran’s ability to target oil tankers, NYT says," 28 Aug. 2019 However, that didn't stop fans from having plenty of ~ feelings ~ about Camila's steamy dance moves and, uh, those stares into each other's eyes. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes' VMAs Performance Gave Twitter Mixed Feelings," 27 Aug. 2019 Taking place in a different Seattle park each week during the summer, Dancing til Dusk begins with an hour lesson and then live music and an open dance floor. Rebekah Welch, The Seattle Times, "Dancing til Dusk in Seattle’s parks," 26 Aug. 2019 The band builds excitement in the stands, the dance team shows off performances that took untold hours to perfect. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Check out Clear Brook, Friendswood mascots through the years," 23 Aug. 2019 The tradition got off to a rocky start that day 12 years ago prior to the home opener against Maine, with the band, the cheerleaders and the dance team missing their cue to join the festivities, but the kinks have long since been ironed out. Chris Brodeur,, "Heading to a UConn football game at Rentschler Field? Here’s what you need to know about tailgating, food and special events," 20 Aug. 2019 Booker is a production coordinator with the Streets Authorities said the first theft happened on July 5, when a member of the Streets' dance team reported $1,000 in cash missing from her bag in a changing room. Jenna West,, "Connecticut Woman Arrested for Thefts at New York Arena Football Games," 26 July 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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