dres·​sage drə-ˈsäzh How to pronounce dressage (audio)
often attributive
: the execution by a trained horse of precision movements in response to barely perceptible signals from its rider

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This is a sport involving the execution of precise movements by a trained horse in response to barely perceptible signals from its rider. The word dressage means “training” in French. Particularly important are the animal’s pace and bearing in performing walks, trots, canters, and more specialized maneuvers. Training is divided into the elementary campagne and the advanced haute école. Dressage competitions have been included in the Olympic Games since 1912. Riders compete as individuals and in teams.

Examples of dressage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The great eighteenth-century dressage master François Robichon de la Guérinière admired Cavendish, as did the nineteenth-century masters François Baucher, le Comte d’Aure, and Gustav Steinbrecht. The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 A lot more people compete in running than in, say, dressage or sailing. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 8 Jan. 2022 But replicating the Tokyo podium placements looks unlikely in dressage and jumping. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2023 Riders interested in dressage or show jumping can make use of the Olympic-size outdoor arena. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 28 June 2023 The horse and rider combination is critical in three-day eventing, where duos switch from dance-like dressage to racing over rugged jumps — peppered with hills, drops and ponds! — in cross-country to gracefully clearing four-foot fences in stadium showjumping. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 2 May 2023 In 2016, dressage rider, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl consulted on the construction of the Vivace. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 24 Mar. 2023 The equestrian facility features an 18-stall granite stable, an indoor heated riding arena, an outdoor sand dressage ring, and a large, half-size polo field, the listing states. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Mar. 2023 The estate features a 12-stall barn with groom quarters, a tack room, five paddocks and a regulation-size dressage ring with mirrors. Emily Weaver, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dressage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from dresser to train, drill, from Middle French

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dressage was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near dressage

Cite this Entry

“Dressage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dressage. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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