\ 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 Someone was supposed to dance around in a gorilla mask. CBS News, "Navy SEAL pleads guilty to manslaughter in "tape job" hazing death of Green Beret," 15 Jan. 2021 Someone was supposed to dance around in a gorilla mask. Ben Finley, Star Tribune, "SEAL pleads guilty to role in hazing death of Green Beret," 14 Jan. 2021 The rest of the movie takes place in Chicago in the late 1920s, a period of flux for Black performers like Ma Rainey, who had gained popularity on the vaudeville circuit, but were faced with a growing appetite for beats young people could dance to. Anne Cohen,, "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Shines A Light On The Fierce Woman Behind The Greasepaint," 19 Dec. 2020 Nathan, a brilliant roboticist, drunkenly stumbles in and brusquely tells Caleb to dance with the Kyoko-bot. Sydney Skybetter, Wired, "How Choreography Can Help Robots Come Alive," 7 Feb. 2021 To be able to dance as part of a group is a big part of the attraction. Siobhan Burke New York Times, Star Tribune, "Undeterred by winter, ballet classes move outdoors," 5 Feb. 2021 As the weather got colder, Pyle gauged students’ interest in continuing to dance outdoors. New York Times, "Wool, Sneakers and Community: Ballet Class Persists Outdoors," 2 Feb. 2021 The second session of the three-part series will take place on Feb. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will teach participants how to dance Bachata, which originated in the Dominican Republic. Diana Bravo,, "Dance lessons, a new scholarship, and how to overcome odds," 26 Jan. 2021 Music plays even though there are no fans to dance. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Where’s the energy? Staples Center is a strange, cold place without fans," 18 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cervi’s role as an unseen force in Detroit’s musical culture also included shepherding teenagers onto the show’s dance floor and onto TV. Tim Kiska, Detroit Free Press, "Art Cervi, Detroit TV's Bozo the Clown in the 1960s and '70s, dies at age 86," 19 Feb. 2021 Once the reception began, Patrick Belton of Dub Gypsy spun a mix of Afrobeats, old school hip hop, and modern pop, combining different styles of music from around the world and keeping the dance floor packed all night. Shira Savada, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Couple Planned Their Wedding in Just 5 Months—After Two Years of Long-Distance Dating," 9 Feb. 2021 Friends gather to celebrate holidays or drop in for at-home dance parties. Los Angeles Times, "Remembering Kobe and Gianna: Vanessa Bryant on social media," 25 Jan. 2021 After a June video showed a crowds overwhelming the club's dance floor, Club Spire's license was suspended. Alison Medley, Chron, "Mayor Turner puts Houston bar owners 'on notice' after weekend COVID-19 violations," 19 Jan. 2021 This album is great for family dance parties and sing-a-longs in the kitchen or a drive to the Christmas tree farm., oregonlive, "8 family-friendly recordings to get you in the holiday spirit," 13 Dec. 2020 In September, El helped organize dance parties in Utah County, with a partnership known as Young/Dumb, which brought throngs of unmasked students together during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Salt Lake Tribune, "FairMormon’s new satirical videos take on church critics, but does the humor miss the mark?," 12 Dec. 2020 Keep their tunes flowing and the dance parties rocking with this teensy-weensy Bluetooth speaker that has more than 12,000 positive reviews. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "37 gifts even the coolest teens will love," 3 Dec. 2020 Kylie Minogue!—so incorporating dance parties in my day-to-day existence has been key. Perrie Samotin, Glamour, "What ‘Me Time’ Means Right Now, According to Glamour Editors," 1 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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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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