\ 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 dance (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 remaining contestants in Group A will dance next week to compete for the Diamond Mask Trophy. Chloe Melas, CNN, "'The Masked Dancer' reveals the identity of the Moth," 14 Jan. 2021 But often, a young man will enter the ring to dance with her. New York Times, "Welcoming a New Year at an Ancient Festival in Pakistan," 27 Dec. 2020 Another was an infomercial for a miniature staircase that people can put next to their ears at night, so that their dreams can come out and dance, to prevent headaches. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Otherworldly Comedy of Julio Torres," 21 Dec. 2020 In the video series, users dance offscreen while choosing between two options given at the top of the screen. Mary Honkus,, "Gordon Ramsay on His Friendship with Gigi Hadid: 'Only Reason Why My Kids Want to Talk to Me'," 16 Dec. 2020 So simple but so devastatingly effective -- did anyone not dance or work out to this song by the time the year was over? Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best Latin Songs of 2020: Staff Picks," 16 Dec. 2020 Children can sing and dance with Miss Jamie from the Farm at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7, on the Naperville Public Library’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Michelle Mullins,, "This Week in Naperville," 4 Dec. 2020 Shake it out, dance around, blast your music, and let this full-body circuit give you a welcome change of pace. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "A Full Body Circuit Workout to Help You Shake Off the Day," 30 Dec. 2020 The usual Edinburgh celebration sees Prince’s Street blocked off for blocks as partygoers dance to live music and await a big fireworks display, according to the event's official website. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "How the coronavirus pandemic is changing New Year's Eve celebrations across the world," 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Finally, at a dance, a boy tells her about a journal, Wild Wheat, that publishes young and unknown writers. Lauren Oyler, Harpers Magazine, "Reality Under My Skin," 5 Jan. 2021 Public health experts have referred to negotiating life during the pandemic as a dance — hastily moving this way and that as the virus dictates. Heather Knight,, "Overdoses, struggling businesses and kids stuck at home. Can S.F. tackle crises overshadowed by pandemic?," 5 Jan. 2021 The decision represents the conclusion of a complex and public kabuki dance between the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, and vaccine volunteers, as well as with Moderna, which developed its own Covid-19 vaccine. Matthew Herper, STAT, "Pfizer and BioNTech speed up timeline for offering Covid-19 to placebo volunteers," 1 Jan. 2021 Quiñones was a member of the Lockers crew that helped popularize the locking style of street dance. NBC News, "Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quiñones, star of 'Breakin'' and street dance pioneer, dies at 65," 30 Dec. 2020 Do a little happy dance, pat yourself on the back, or treat yourself to a new pair of leggings. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "A Core Strength Workout You Can Do at Home," 30 Dec. 2020 The fashion moment in question went down in 1985, when Diana and her then-husband, Prince Charles, were attending a gala dinner dance at the Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana Reportedly Upset the Queen by Miswearing a Royal Heirloom in Public," 29 Dec. 2020 In ice dance, the top couple of Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov withdrew, Katsalapov saying that both had contracted Covid-19 and that his partner had lung damage as a result. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Russia’s Skating Dynasty Meets Its Toughest Challenger: Coronavirus," 27 Dec. 2020 There are some things to clean up on the defensive side in terms of penalties, but the most important thing at this point is getting into the dance. Jonas Shaffer,, "Instant analysis: Ravens beat Giants, 27-13, can clinch a playoff berth with win in Week 17," 27 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dance

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on dance

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