tan·​go | \ ˈtaŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce tango (audio) \
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

Noun The band played a tango. Verb He's trying to learn how to tango.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That tango between the sweet and woody notes brought out the rich sensations of honey, chocolate and nougat. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 4 May 2022 Richard Quest visits Buenos Aires in the latest episode, home of the tango. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 30 Apr. 2022 Eno’s futuristic synthwork tango on the edge of a samurai sword. Ron Hart, SPIN, 25 Apr. 2022 My father was the son of a famous Uyghur dancer who was known across the country, the way a celebrated tango dancer might be known in Argentina at the time. Nury Turkel, The Week, 10 May 2022 Then sour cherries do an invigorating tango with flavors of butterscotch and honeycomb on the palate. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 4 May 2022 Welcome to Argentina, where high, nearly uncontrollable inflation—now at an estimated 55.1% over the past year—is as natural as the country’s juicy sirloins and sensual tango shows. Silvina Frydlewsky, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Their lyrical Afro-Brazilian composition, Spanish rhumba and driving tango have their roots in the romantic music of the old-world Mediterranean, Latin American and Jazz traditions. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Apr. 2022 The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Trades take two to tango and most trade-ups in this era of the NFL Draft center around getting franchise quarterback prospects. Stephanie Stradley, Chron, 22 Apr. 2022 Surrounded by lush subtropical gardens, the 130-year-old gem has historical bragging rights, too: George Bernard Shaw learned to tango here, while Winston Churchill came to write his memoirs. Leena Kim And Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, 17 Mar. 2022 Franklin and Noblesville — Nos. 2 and 5 Class 4A AP poll and Nos. 2 and 1 in the 4A Sagarin ratings, respectively — are set to tango in the championship game Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Brian Haenchen, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Feb. 2022 Dinner usually doesn’t start before 9 p.m., and afterward, people tango until sunrise. Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2022 If Venom is going to tango with more than one version of Spider-Man, the MCU might not be the endgame. Ryan Britt, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tango.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tango. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tango

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tango

Nglish: Translation of tango for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tango


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