(formerly) a promenade or march, of black American origin, in which the couples with the most intricate or eccentric steps received cakes as prizes.
a dance with a strutting step based on this promenade.
music for this dance.
Informal. something easy, sure, or certain.

verb (used without object)

to walk or dance in or as if in a cakewalk.

Origin of cakewalk

First recorded in 1860–65; cake + walk
Related formscake·walk·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cakewalk

cinch, dance, rout, march, prance, strut

Examples from the Web for cakewalk

Contemporary Examples of cakewalk

Historical Examples of cakewalk

  • In Paris the cakewalk is a thing of misunderstood, misapplied accents.

    Franz Liszt

    James Huneker

  • The matron, in the wickedness of her heart, turns on an orchestral "cakewalk."

    London's Underworld

    Thomas Holmes

  • He tipped his derby one-sided and started off on a cakewalk.

    A Good Samaritan

    Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

  • I know she can dance, for have I not seen her executing the cakewalk in Dimbie's tea-rose slippers?

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia

    Mabel Barnes-Grundy

  • Men grasped each other around the waists, performing some kind of crazy dance that looked like an Indian cakewalk.

British Dictionary definitions for cakewalk



a dance based on a march with intricate steps, originally performed by African-Americans with the prize of a cake for the best performers
a piece of music composed for this dance
informal an easily accomplished task


(intr) to perform the cakewalk
Derived Formscakewalker, noun
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 cakewalk

1863, American English, from cake (n.) + walk (n.), probably in reference to the cake given as a prize for the fanciest steps in a procession in a Southern black custom (explained by Richard H. Thornton, 1912, as, "A walking competition among negroes," in which the prize cake goes to "the couple who put on most style"). Its figurative meaning of "something easy" (1863) is recorded before the literal one (1879). As a verb, from 1909. This may also be the source of the phrase to take the cake (1847).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper