fla·​men·​co flə-ˈmeŋ-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce flamenco (audio)
plural flamencos
: a vigorous rhythmic dance style of the Andalusian Gypsies
also : a dance in flamenco style
: music or song suitable to accompany a flamenco dance

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The Spanish word flamenco means “Flemish,” and its later usage in the sense “Gypsy-like,” especially in reference to a song, dance, and guitar-music style, has inspired a number of hypotheses about why the word flamenco came to be associated with Gypsies; however, all of these theories seem implausible. Perhaps more promisingly, in the later 19th century flamenco also meant “jaunty, cocky” and, in reference to women, “provocatively attractive,” The suggestion has been made that “Gypsylike” is a secondary development from these senses. The ordinary Spanish word for “Gypsy” is gitano, which like the English Gypsy, is altered from a word meaning “Egyptian.”

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Following the death of her family’s matriarch in the Dominican Republic, a disenchanted flamenco dancer living in New York City must rid herself from her ancestor’s curses to pave her own future. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2023 Dwarfed by an imposing desert (Australia standing in for Chihuahua, Mexico), a defiant flamenco dancer (Marina Tamayo) performs in front of two threatening armed men. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2023 The country has changed tact, however, for 2023, sending an infectious flamenco throwback which should get everyone shaking their castanets in unison. Jon O'brien, Vulture, 9 May 2023 The Junta has pledged roughly $19 million in funds for the next three years of music programming, as part of a push to boost music tourism in Andalucía, the birthplace of the folkloric tradition known as flamenco. Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2023 And given the Black Swan dance coordinator’s bona fides in the ballet world, Millepied has added in a perverse amount of pas de deux, as well as flamenco numbers, street-dance showcases, and Broadway-style showstoppers. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2023 Rosalía and Rauw Alejandro 'don't limit each other':How music's power couple balances love, work With her unique blend of pop, rap and flamenco music, Rosalia’s performance on the Coachella Stage Saturday was another sign of global stars’ top billing at Coachella this year. Tom Coulter, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2023 Russell also studied flamenco in Spain, has crewed on private yachts, managed a yacht club in the Bahamas and is a certified cross-country ski instructor. Greg Carannante, Sun Sentinel, 9 Mar. 2023 The female ensemble is a three-piece garment that looks like a spectacular flamenco dress; crimson red meets aquamarine, conjuring a warm Caribbean sunset. Natalie Meade, Vogue, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Spanish, from flamenco of the Gypsies, literally, Flemish, from Middle Dutch Vlaminc Fleming

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flamenco was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near flamenco

Cite this Entry

“Flamenco.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flamenco. Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

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