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[prans, prahns] /præns, prɑns/
verb (used without object), pranced, prancing.
to spring from the hind legs; to move by springing, as a horse.
to ride on a horse doing this.
to ride gaily, proudly, or insolently.
to move or go in an elated manner; cavort.
to dance or move in a lively or spirited manner; caper.
verb (used with object), pranced, prancing.
to cause to prance.
the act of prancing; a prancing movement.
Origin of prance
1325-75; Middle English prauncen, praunsen (v.); akin to Danish (dial.) pransk spirited, said of a horse
Related forms
prancer, noun
prancingly, adverb
4, 5. gambol, leap, skip, romp, frolic, frisk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He gives it out that he's goin' to prance over to Red Dog an' lay for the Bug.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends Alfred Henry Lewis
  • If the beggar comes in suddenly, and starts to prance, I'll rip him up and be done with it!

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • The thought that the beggar had started to prance darted through his mind.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • His spirit seemed to prance with joy like the horse beneath him.

    The False Chevalier William Douw Lighthall
  • No sooner had prance confessed than he withdrew his confession.

  • The air was full of the whirl of limbs, the prance of hoofs, and snorts of alarm.

    Tales of Space and Time Herbert George Wells
  • He was so vexed he could do nothing but prance up and down the hall.

  • At one period to ramp and to prance seem to have been synonymous.

  • In spite of the efforts of the countryman the horse continued to rear and prance.

    The Motor Boys Clarence Young
British Dictionary definitions for prance


(intransitive) to swagger or strut
(intransitive) to caper, gambol, or dance about
  1. (of a horse) to move with high lively springing steps
  2. to ride a horse that moves in this way
(transitive) to cause to prance
the act or an instance of prancing
Derived Forms
prancer, noun
prancingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14 prauncen; perhaps related to German prangen to be in full splendour; compare Danish (dialect) pransk lively, spirited, used of a horse
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 prance

late 14c., originally of horses, of unknown origin, perhaps related to Middle English pranken "to show off," from Middle Dutch pronken "to strut, parade" (see prank); or perhaps from Danish dialectal prandse "to go in a stately manner." Klein suggests Old French paravancier. Related: Pranced; prancing. As a noun from 1751, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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