tan·​go | \ˈtaŋ-(ˌ)gō \
plural tangos

Definition of tango 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a ballroom dance of Latin American origin in ²/₄ time with a basic pattern of step-step-step-step-close and characterized by long pauses and stylized body positions also : the music for this dance

2 : interaction marked by a lack of straightforwardness the suspect's tango with police


tangoed; tangoing; tangos

Definition of tango (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to dance the tango


communications code word

Definition of Tango (Entry 3 of 3)

used as a code word for the letter t

Examples of tango in a Sentence


The band played a tango.


He's trying to learn how to tango.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Unlike most ballroom dancing, Argentine tango is almost completely improvised. Savannah Eadens, chicagotribune.com, "Windy City Tango Festival brings world-champion dancers to Lakeview this weekend," 5 July 2018 And Gustavo is a Steinway artist and a three-time Latin Grammy nominee for his tango compositions. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "Bachathon makes an early appearance in a new venue this year | The Kansas City Star," 13 Apr. 2018 Arfenoni, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Argentina dancing tango. Savannah Eadens, chicagotribune.com, "Windy City Tango Festival brings world-champion dancers to Lakeview this weekend," 5 July 2018 Typically running two hours, the gatherings include a 45-minute dance lesson with options including tango, waltz or the chance to put together a routine to the pop song of your choice. Samantha Nelson, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago bachelor and bachelorette party ideas you can book at the last minute," 27 June 2018 Several thousand children across Los Angeles County learn to swing and salsa, tango, foxtrot and merengue over the course of a 10-week program. Esmeralda Bermudez, latimes.com, "These fifth-graders start out dance-shy, but then they start to shimmy," 26 May 2018 Produced by Teatro SEA, the Latino theater for children, this bilingual adaptation has a heroine who is not only a beleaguered scullery maid but also the kingdom’s best tango dancer. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "7 Things to Do With Your Kids in NYC This Weekend," 29 Mar. 2018 With a flash of silver shovels and a dash of tango music, developers officially broke ground Thursday on uptown Charlotte's newest luxury hotel, the Grand Bohemian. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "A new hotel that will add flair to Charlotte's skyline is under construction uptown," 31 May 2018 The event welcomes novices and experts alike, and also features Lithuanian eats, live tango orchestra music, and more than a dozen maestros ready to teach you their skills. Philly.com, "Memorial Day fireworks, Sail Philadelphia, Devon Horse Show, and other events in Philadelphia, May 25-June 1," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump's simplistic desire to tango with Putin appears to be permanently on hold, thanks to the concrete realities of geopolitics. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump’s good cop-bad cop routine with Russia is looking untenable," 30 Mar. 2018 The Roadster won’t have a chance to tango with Earth until its first close encounter in 2091. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Tesla Roadster Has Six Percent Chance of Crashing to Earth in the Next Million Years," 17 Feb. 2018 But the 13-term Republican, who tangoed with both President Obama and the insurgent Tea Party, is no longer holding back his thoughts on several conservative media figures. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Former top Republican John Boehner unloads on 'idiot' Sean Hannity," 30 Oct. 2017 West and Oconomowoc will tango Oct. 28 with a state berth on the line in Watertown. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pewaukee girls volleyball team stuns No. 1-ranked Kettle Moraine Lutheran in sectional," 27 Oct. 2017 Fall is prime time for deer-car collisions in the U.S. and in Kentucky, motorists are more than likely to tango with Bambi. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Deer vs. cars: What you need to know this fall," 5 Oct. 2017 But, as is the norm when Hollywood tangos with science, the science stumbled in translation to the screen. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Storm chasers honor ‘Twister’ star Bill Paxton," 27 Feb. 2017 But who would want to tango with Legere, the wireless industry’s rock-star CEO? Tamara Chuang, The Denver Post, "Heard at CES 2017: T-Mobile’s CEO disses Dish during CES media event," 5 Jan. 2017 That presumably entails support from the International Monetary Fund, with whom Mr. Macri and his entourage also tangoed in Davos. Rob Cox, New York Times, "Argentina and Aramco Are Deals for Difficult Times," 26 Jan. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tango.' 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 tango


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined above

Communications code word

1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tango


American Spanish

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Dictionary Entries near tango







tang peep

Statistics for tango

Last Updated

26 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for tango

The first known use of tango was in 1913

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More Definitions for tango



English Language Learners Definition of tango

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a Latin-American dance in which couples make long pauses in difficult positions; also : the music used for this dance



English Language Learners Definition of tango (Entry 2 of 2)

: to dance the tango

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More from Merriam-Webster on tango

Spanish Central: Translation of tango

Nglish: Translation of tango for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tango

Comments on tango

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a private place of worship

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