ballet

[ ba-ley, bal-ey ]
/ bæˈleɪ, ˈbæl eɪ /

noun

a classical dance form demanding grace and precision and employing formalized steps and gestures set in intricate, flowing patterns to create expression through movement.
a theatrical entertainment in which ballet dancing and music, often with scenery and costumes, combine to tell a story, establish an emotional atmosphere, etc.
an interlude of ballet in an operatic performance.
a company of ballet dancers.
the musical score for a ballet: the brilliant ballets of Tchaikovsky.
a dance or balletlike performance: an ice-skating ballet.

Origin of ballet

1660–70; < French, Middle French < Italian balletto, equivalent to ball(o) ball2 + -etto -et

Related forms

bal·let·ic [ba-let-ik, buh-] /bæˈlɛt ɪk, bə-/, adjectivebal·let·i·cal·ly, adverb

Can be confused

ballad ballet ballot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ballet

British Dictionary definitions for ballet

ballet

/ (ˈbæleɪ, bæˈleɪ) /

noun

  1. a classical style of expressive dancing based on precise conventional steps with gestures and movements of grace and fluidity
  2. (as modifier)ballet dancer
a theatrical representation of a story or theme performed to music by ballet dancers
a troupe of ballet dancers
a piece of music written for a ballet

Derived Forms

balletic (bæˈlɛtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for ballet

C17: from French, from Italian balletto literally: a little dance, from ballare to dance; 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

Culture definitions for ballet

ballet


Theatrical entertainment in which dancers, usually accompanied by music, tell a story or express a mood through their movements. The technique of ballet is elaborate and requires many years of training. Two classical ballets are Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Two great modern ballets are The Rite of Spring, composed by Igor Stravinsky, and Fancy Free, by Leonard Bernstein.

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.