Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

tarantella

[tar-uh n-tel-uh] /ˌtær ənˈtɛl ə/
noun
1.
a rapid, whirling southern Italian dance in very quick sextuple, originally quadruple, meter, usually performed by a single couple, and formerly supposed to be a remedy for tarantism.
2.
a piece of music either for the dance or in its rhythm.
Origin of tarantella
1775-1785
1775-85; < Italian, equivalent to Tarant(o) Taranto + -ella -elle
Can be confused
tarantella, tarantula.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tarantella
Historical Examples
  • Was there not in the air the thin sound of a reed flute playing a tarantella?

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • The tarantella then was no more than an interlude in a play.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • It wasn't the tarantella only that led him this long wandering.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • Delarey seemed to him like a tarantella in repose, if such a thing could be.

    The Call of the Blood

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • The tarantella—that was the dance of the soil here, the dance of the blood.

    The Call of the Blood

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • He no longer danced the tarantella with the careless abandon of a boy.

    The Call of the Blood

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • It's good when the blood calls one to the tarantella, isn't it?

    The Call of the Blood

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • There is singing with dancing—the "Apache," the "tarantella."

  • Then follow the feast and the balls, at which they will dance the cerca, and the marsiliana, and the tarantella.

    Wanderings in Corsica, Vol. 1 of 2 Ferdinand Gregorovius
  • The sorrow died out of her eyes and was replaced by a fierce defiance; and her fingers broke into a tarantella of wild sounds.

    The Reason Why Elinor Glyn
British Dictionary definitions for tarantella

tarantella

/ˌtærənˈtɛlə/
noun
1.
a peasant dance from S Italy
2.
a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance, in fast six-eight time
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from TarantoTaranto; associated with tarantism
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tarantella
n.

1782, "peasant dance popular in Italy," originally "hysterical malady characterized by extreme impulse to dance" (1630s), epidemic in Apulia and adjacent parts of southern Italy 15c.-17c., popularly attributed to (or believed to be a cure for) the bite of the tarantula. This is likely folk-etymology, however, and the dance is from Taranto, the name of a city in southern Italy (see tarantula). Used from 1833 to mean the style of music that accompanies this dance, usually in 6/8 time, with whirling triplets and abrupt major-minor modulations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tarantella

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tarantella

0
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tarantella