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.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ballerina

ballerina, coryphee

Examples from the Web for ballerina

Contemporary Examples of ballerina

Historical Examples of ballerina

  • 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.


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for ballerina



a female ballet dancer
US the principal female dancer of a ballet company

Word Origin for ballerina

C18: from Italian, feminine of ballerino dancing master, from ballare to dance, from Late Latin ballāre : see ball ²
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

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

ballerina in Culture


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

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