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 Plus no state income tax, fish tacos, tango dancing, dog beaches, wedges with sundresses . . . Peter Lane Taylor, Forbes, "Tired Of COVID Winter Lockdowns? Here Are 5 Places Where The Weather Is 75 Degrees And Sunny Year Round," 24 Feb. 2021 Shoes included two-tone tango pumps with double straps and delicate gold booties featuring practical wedge heels. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, "Virginie Viard Hosted a Chanel Family Reunion in Paris for Spring 2021 Haute Couture," 26 Jan. 2021 John Galliano conjured a haunting short film for Maison Margiela that was loosely about an eerie South American wedding, complete with tango dancing, blood-red veils, and a ghost-white bride. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Rick Owens, Prada, Maison Margiela, and More Fashion Brands Leaned into Horror This Season," 16 Jan. 2021 Passionate tango tunes conjure up a mysteriously romantic dreamscape. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "From Buenos Aires to Florence: Dallas Chamber Music Society concert covered a lot of ground," 17 Nov. 2020 Batteries have more capacity, the software controlling the tango between internal combustion engine and electric motor is more advanced, and the fuel economy advantages are increasingly significant. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "Every Hybrid Crossover and SUV You Can Buy in 2021," 5 Jan. 2021 The two-course tango involves two rooms, and two courses. Stefanie Groner, Glamour, "17 At Home Date Ideas to Get You Out of Your Netflix Rut," 24 Dec. 2020 It’s a negotiating dance that’s less like a two-step, and more like a tango. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "No Dungeness crab for Christmas as Bay Area fleets negotiate for higher prices," 22 Dec. 2020 Like that other famous Argentine export, the tango, Maradona brought flair, passion and an undeniable sense of darkness to his sport and his life. Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times, "Diego Maradona, Argentine soccer legend, dies at 60," 25 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During this promenade à deux, both scorpions face one another, pincers interlocked, and tango to and fro across the savanna, occasionally even interlocking mouthparts in a sort of scorpion kiss. Bradley Allf, Smithsonian Magazine, "For Constipated Scorpions, Females Suffer Reproductively. Males, Not So Much.," 1 Mar. 2021 Noah has already tried salsa and tango dancing with Kenzie Ziegler, Hoverboard Gymnastics with Kelianne Stankus, and makeup with James Charles. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Exclusive: Noah Beck and Dixie D'Amelio Talk About Their First Kiss in "Noah Beck Tries Things" Clip," 11 Feb. 2021 Laura and the possible Marco will not however be the first two storms to tango in the Gulf together. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Once in a lifetime: two hurricanes, same time, same place," 21 Aug. 2020 Meanwhile, Greens pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm was all but matching Smoltz in excellence, though with pitches that tangoed more than darted. Dan Barry, New York Times, "Baseball Season Opens With a Dash of Imagination," 26 Mar. 2020 Democrats have been as willing as Republicans to tango with the rent-reaping lounge lizards. Washington Post, "The Democrats Are Moving Left. Will America Follow?," 12 Nov. 2019 Billy Crudup, as the news executive Cory Ellison, represents one version of the show, playing his character as a full-bore Chaos Muppet with tangoing eyebrows and irresistible Machiavellian energy. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "What Went Wrong With The Morning Show?," 21 Dec. 2019 These queries vividly illustrate a problem that voice assistants are tangoing with today: Although machine learning capabilities are exponentially growing, artificial intelligence still has a difficult time understanding the way people speak. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Is Crowdsourcing Alexa's Answers, So This Should Be Fun," 26 Sep. 2019 Two to tango Working in the same group, but a few years Maike’s senior, was an Indian ecologist named Smitha Krishnan. Nandita Jayaraj, Quartz India, "The coffee plantations of India’s western ghats are being wrongly blamed for climate change," 4 Sep. 2019

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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Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tango.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tango. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tango

Nglish: Translation of tango for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tango

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