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tan·​go ˈtaŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce tango (audio)
plural tangos
: 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
: interaction marked by a lack of straightforwardness
the suspect's tango with police


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tangoed; tangoing; tangos

intransitive verb

: to dance the tango


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communications code word

used as a code word for the letter t

Examples of tango in a Sentence

Noun The band played a tango. Verb He's trying to learn how to tango.
Recent Examples on the Web
As a result, Mauricio is one of the rare actors playing the Castilian character Gomez who actually speaks fluent Spanish and can flawlessly perform tango and other Latin dance steps. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Oct. 2023 The tango, the country’s sensual signature, recurs as the story of Eva’s rise, from boy toy to political dynamo, unfolds. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 The subtitle is a reference to a French dance style, developed into a popular cabaret act in the early 1900s, that mixes a seductive kind of tango with a violent domestic battle in which the dancers fling each other around in between loving détentes. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 Miller’s dancing days have stalled, however, since the murder of his partner in life and tango, Alexandra (call her Alex), the night of the North-West Lancashire Over Forties competition. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2023 All the Season 32 Eliminations The American Pie actress left some room for improvement following an enthusiastic salsa debut, then nailed her tango routine last week with dance partner Sasha Farber, earning praise from Carrie Ann Inaba. Jp Mangalindan, Peoplemag, 10 Oct. 2023 Watch Hannigan’s impressive Latin Night tango below: Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC and Disney+ at 8 p.m. ET Tuesdays. Anna Chan, Billboard, 6 Oct. 2023 Di Meola has also explored world music, including Brazilian, African, flamenco, tango and Middle Eastern. David Chiu, Peoplemag, 28 Sep. 2023 Foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, bolero, cha-cha — anyone who visits the VietAID social hall in Fields Corner can learn. Robert Weisman, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Mar. 2023
For now, Citizens Memorial Hospital and other Missouri medical facilities will have to continue to tango with the insurers: Legislation to limit white and brown bagging did not pass during the Missouri General Assembly’s recent session. Samantha Liss, Fortune, 28 June 2023 Demand for brisket is at an all-time high and for every bovine, there are only two to tango. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, 10 May 2023 Amazon Prime Day 2021 is here and ready to tango. Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo, USA TODAY, 23 June 2021 Dance instructor David DuVal most recently taught samba and tango there on Thursday morning. Anchorage Daily News, 23 Jan. 2023 If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then interviewing a musician can be like trying to tango with a block of concrete. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 Some Russians did, however, including fit men who watched from the bar as a relative of the bride — a young woman who sang a touching, traditional Russian song — danced emphatically to tango music. New York Times, 13 May 2022 Kahneman argues for collaboration, but that takes two to tango, and a willingness to learn the steps. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History



American Spanish

First Known Use


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined above

Communications Code Word

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tango was in 1913

Dictionary Entries Near tango

Cite this Entry

“Tango.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tango. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural tangos
: a ballroom dance of Latin-American origin to music in ²⁄₄ time and marked by pauses between steps and a variety of body postures
also : the music for a tango
tango verb

More from Merriam-Webster on tango

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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