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[dah-dah] /ˈdɑ dɑ/
noun, (sometimes initial capital letter)
the style and techniques of a group of artists, writers, etc., of the early 20th century who exploited accidental and incongruous effects in their work and who programmatically challenged established canons of art, thought, morality, etc.
Origin of dada
1915-20; < French: hobby horse, childish reduplication of da giddyap
Related forms
dadaism, noun
dadaist, noun
dadaistic, adjective
dadaistically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dada
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps he will not care to be called dada, but it is nevertheless true.

    Adventures in the Arts Marsden Hartley
  • You hear the hum of human bees, they smell the honey of dada's quatrains.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • I am beginning to feel greater respect for dada's quatrains than before.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • Then there is dada, to whom duty is the essence of life, not joy.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • If he didn't, he would never have pulled dada outside his den.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • dada, how in the world can you go on writing verses like that, sitting in your den?

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • Yes, dada, you may tell us, but we shan't promise to listen.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
British Dictionary definitions for dada


a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria
Derived Forms
Dadaist, noun, adjective
Dadaistic, adjective
Dadaistically, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from French, from a children's word for hobbyhorse, the name being arbitrarily chosen
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 dada

1920, from French dada "hobbyhorse," child's nonsense word, selected 1916 by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara (1896-1963), leader of the movement, for its resemblance to meaningless babble.

Freedom: DADA DADA DADA, the howl of clashing colors, the intertwining of all contradictions, grotesqueries, trivialities: LIFE. [T. Tzara, "Dada Manifesto," 1918]
Related: Dadaist; Dadaism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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