\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Every year on the second Saturday of August, participants of the Bud Billiken Parade march and dance their way through the streets of Chicago. ABC News, 12 Aug. 2022 What do the numbers predict for Congress and the White House? Like scholastics debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, Washingtonians spent much of the summer fighting over the precise definition of a recession. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 11 Aug. 2022 Most of them are younger, looking for a place to let loose and dance. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Aug. 2022 The formal Yalalag huipil is worn on special occasions, including the Guelaguetza, of course, where couples dance jarabes serranos. Fernanda Pérez Sánchez, Vogue, 8 Aug. 2022 Renaissance masterfully explores the worlds of house, disco, and dance through its 16 tracks. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 July 2022 So much to digest, so much to dissect and so much to dance to. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 29 July 2022 Thousands of revelers dressed in feathers and jewels—including myself this year—dance down the road for hours upon hours. Natalie Meade, Vogue, 14 July 2022 In hustle, anyone can dance with anyone, and anybody can lead or follow. New York Times, 7 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During the production, the students filled in the blanks through songs, monologues, dance and rap lyrics. Amy Schwabe, Journal Sentinel, 12 Aug. 2022 The India Cultural Association, a non-profit that aims to promote and preserve Indian culture, hosts a day of dance and live music, as well as the tastes, fashions, art and history of this diverse region. Rosemarie Stein | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 10 Aug. 2022 As the day goes on, Zahara and Samad become entangled in a dangerous dance of duplicity and deception. Emiliano De Pablos, Variety, 6 Aug. 2022 The Meriden Turner Society, founded in 1866, is a German American organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of German culture and traditions through Gemütlichkeit, traditional song, Schuhplattler dance and food. Hartford Courant, 3 Aug. 2022 Fans are also loving Queen Bey’s acclaimed foray into dance and house music for its tributes to ballroom culture, self-empowerment and her late uncle; the album won Billboard‘s new music poll last week with 57 percent of the vote. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 3 Aug. 2022 Your Generation in Concert, a longtime favorite at the Detroit Auto Show, will entertain guests from the Huntington Place Atrium stage with pop, rock, dance and R&B hits. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 3 Aug. 2022 The fifteen paintings took viewers into the world of the South Asian diaspora, where dark-skinned young men stand forlornly in immigration offices, dance and cuddle in small apartments, and meet one another in bars. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2022 Honestly, Nevermind made splashy debuts, both steeped heavily in dance and house music influences. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for dance


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on dance

Nglish: Translation of dance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about dance


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