[ bal-uh-ree-nuh ]
/ ˌbæl əˈri nə /


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.

Nearby words

  1. ballast pocket,
  2. ballast resistor,
  3. ballata,
  4. ballbreaker,
  5. balled-and-burlapped,
  6. ballesteros,
  7. ballet,
  8. ballet blanc,
  9. ballet flat,
  10. ballet master

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

Examples from the Web for ballerina

British Dictionary definitions for ballerina


/ (ˌbæləˈriːnə) /


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

Culture definitions for ballerina


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.