[ ba-ley, bal-ey ]
See synonyms for: balletballetic on

  1. a classical dance form demanding grace and precision and employing formalized steps and gestures set in intricate, flowing patterns to create expression through movement.

  2. a theatrical entertainment in which ballet dancing and music, often with scenery and costumes, combine to tell a story, establish an emotional atmosphere, etc.

  1. an interlude of ballet in an operatic performance.

  2. a company of ballet dancers.

  3. the musical score for a ballet: the brilliant ballets of Tchaikovsky.

  4. 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

Other words from ballet

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

Words that may be confused with ballet Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ballet in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ballet


/ (ˈbæleɪ, bæˈleɪ) /

    • a classical style of expressive dancing based on precise conventional steps with gestures and movements of grace and fluidity

    • (as modifier): ballet dancer

  1. a theatrical representation of a story or theme performed to music by ballet dancers

  1. a troupe of ballet dancers

  2. a piece of music written for a ballet

Origin of ballet

C17: from French, from Italian balletto literally: a little dance, from ballare to dance; see ball ²

Derived forms of ballet

  • balletic (bæˈlɛtɪk), adjective

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

Cultural definitions for 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.