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morris dance

[mawr-is, mor-] /ˈmɔr ɪs, ˈmɒr-/
a rural folk dance of north English origin, performed in costume traditionally by men who originally represented characters of the Robin Hood legend, especially in May Day festivities.
Also called morris.
Origin of morris dance
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English moreys daunce Moorish dance; see Moorish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for morris dance
Historical Examples
  • To-day, the morris dance is completely self-conscious, stiff, and ugly.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke
  • The morris dance is essentially a manifestation of vigour rather than of grace.

    The Morris Book Cecil J. Sharp
  • This is probably true of all country dances: it is pre-eminently true of the morris dance.

    The Morris Book Cecil J. Sharp
  • The morris dance, in short, is a perfect expression in rhythm and movement of the English character.

    The Morris Book Cecil J. Sharp
  • Then there was a morris dance, with tabor and pipe, the dancers wearing purple scarfs and half-shirts.

    Haunted London Walter Thornbury
  • But the morris dance—it was the dances that Kingston would spend money upon.

  • It was an old English dance, called a "morris dance," with a lilt and a tilt which set all feet a-going.

    Operas Every Child Should Know

    Mary Schell Hoke Bacon
  • The lads and lassies sang carols, played at such games as kiss-in-the-ring, and danced the morris dance.

    Holidays & Happy-Days Hamish Hendry
  • The tantara changes to a graceful and yet hilarious dance chorus, “A morris dance must you entrance,” sung fortissimo.

  • The morris dance (fig. 50) shows us the development that had taken place since the fourteenth century.

British Dictionary definitions for morris dance

morris dance

any of various old English folk dances usually performed by men (morris men) to the accompaniment of violin, concertina, etc. The dancers are adorned with bells and often represent characters from folk tales Often shortened to morris
Derived Forms
morris dancing, noun
Word Origin
C15 moreys daunce Moorish dance. See Moor
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 morris dance

mid-15c., moreys daunce "Moorish dance," from Flemish mooriske dans, from Old French morois "Moorish, Arab, black," from More "Moor" (see Moor). Unknown why the English dance was called this, unless in reference to fantastic dancing or costumes (cf. Italian Moresco, a related dance, literally "Moorish;" German moriskentanz, French moresque).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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