[kon-truh-dans, -dahns; French kawn-truh-dahns]

noun, plural con·tre·dans·es [kon-truh-dan-siz, -dahn-; French kawn-truh dahns] /ˈkɒn trəˌdæn sɪz, -ˌdɑn-; French kɔ̃ˈtrədɑ̃s/.

a variation of the quadrille in which the dancers face each other.
a piece of music suitable for such a dance.


Origin of contredanse

1795–1805; < French, equivalent to contre- counter- + danse dance, misrendering of English country-dance, by association with the characteristic arrangement of dancers in rows facing each other Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contredanse

Historical Examples of contredanse

  • The French contredanse was borrowed from the English country-dance.

    English Past and Present

    Richard Chevenix Trench

  • "Amidst more youthful engagements, don't forget you are engaged to me for a contredanse," she said.

    Miles Tremenhere, Vol 2 of 2

    Annette Marie Maillard

  • Contredanse is the French original, and means that the parties stand opposite to each other.

  • Flocks of old gulls, enormous as hens, fluttered with evolutions like a contredanse upon its glossy surface.

    The Dead Command

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • The contredanse represented was originally the old country dance exported to France and returned with certain arrangements added.

British Dictionary definitions for contredanse




a courtly Continental version of the English country dance, similar to the quadrille
music written for or in the rhythm of this dance

Word Origin for contredanse

C19: from French, changed from English country dance; country altered to French contre (opposite) by folk etymology (because the dancers face each other)
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