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[bal-uh-ree-nuh] /ˌbæl əˈri nə/
a principal female dancer in a ballet company.
Compare prima ballerina.
any female ballet dancer.
a woman's very low-heeled or heelless shoe or slipper, made to resemble a ballet slipper.
Compare ballet slipper.
Origin of ballerina
1785-95; < Italian, feminine of ballerino professional dancer, probably equivalent to baller(ia) dance (ball(are) to dance (< Late Latin; see ball2) + -eria < Old French; see -ery) + -ino -ine1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ballerina
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A duke sent me an invitation to take supper with him, as if I were a ballerina!

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • Yes; that is her stepmother—the stepmother of the ballerina.

    Warren Commission (9 of 26): Hearings Vol. IX (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • It might have been the cell where years ago a ballerina was immured for a wrong step.

    Carnival Compton Mackenzie
  • "She looks half like a Madonna and half like a ballerina," she said.

    Roderick Hudson Henry James
  • There was something of the ballerina in her temperament, also, which she never entirely outgrew.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for ballerina


a female ballet dancer
(US) the principal female dancer of a ballet company
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, feminine of ballerino dancing master, from ballare to dance, from Late Latin ballāre: see ball²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ballerina

1792, from Italian ballerina, literally "dancing girl," fem. of ballerino "dancer," from ballo "a dance" (see ball (n.2)). The Italian plural form ballerine formerly sometimes was used in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ballerina in Culture

ballerina definition

In ballet, a female dancer. (See prima ballerina.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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