qua·​drille | \ kwä-ˈdril How to pronounce quadrille (audio) , kwə-, kə- \

Definition of quadrille

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a four-handed variant of ombre popular especially in the 18th century
2 : a square dance for four couples made up of five or six figures chiefly in ⁶/₈ and ²/₄ time also : music for this dance



Definition of quadrille (Entry 2 of 2)

: marked with squares or rectangles

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The quadrille, named for its four couples that form the sides of a square, seems to have begun as a French country dance. In the 18th century it became fashionable among the French nobility; as performed by elegantly dressed aristocrats, it became slow and formal. It crossed over to England and from there to New England, where it turned back into a dance for the common people. It soon evolved into the American square dance, a lively type of dance that employs a "caller" to make sure everyone remembers the steps.

Examples of quadrille in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Music hall-goers quickly become enamored with the cancan, an energetic new dance style inspired by the quadrille in which dancers kicked their legs high into the air—and exposed their petticoats in the process. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 May 2022 Carrie, assuming she would be included, had been practicing the quadrille with her friends for weeks. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 22 Mar. 2022 These include the long rein, the airs above the ground and the quadrille. Sheryl Devore, chicagotribune.com, 16 June 2021 Mary, on the other hand, famously danced a quadrille at his first inauguration — with Sen. Stephen Douglas, her former boyfriend and the man Lincoln had defeated for the presidency. Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2021 On the dance floor, guests ingest opium with lolling tongues, then variously pop their booties and walk a quadrille. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2019 After a pre-ball dance lesson, Bangers & Mash waltzes, polkas, mixers, quadrilles, country & contra dances, and other popular 19th-century couple and set dances. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, 25 Aug. 2019 The dance is a traditional mid-19th century dance featuring contras (reels), quadrilles (squares) and novelty (circle) dances that were once common. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, 6 July 2017 Every weekday at noon, in a ritual as formalized as a quadrille, Page Six names descended on what was now being called the Grill Room, took a seat at their customary table and dined — abstemiously. William Grimes, New York Times, 8 July 2016 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quadrille.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quadrille


1726, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quadrille


French, group of knights engaged in a carousel, from Spanish cuadrilla troop, from diminutive of cuadra square, from Latin quadra, quadrum


French quadrillé

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The first known use of quadrille was in 1726

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Cite this Entry

“Quadrille.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadrille. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on quadrille

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quadrille


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