noun (sometimes initial capital letter)

the style and techniques of a group of artists, writers, etc., of the early 20th century who exploited accidental and incongruous effects in their work and who programmatically challenged established canons of art, thought, morality, etc.

Origin of dada

1915–20; < French: hobby horse, childish reduplication of da giddyap
Related formsda·da·ism, nounda·da·ist, nounda·da·is·tic, adjectiveda·da·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dada

Contemporary Examples of dada

Historical Examples of dada

  • Perhaps he will not care to be called Dada, but it is nevertheless true.

    Adventures in the Arts

    Marsden Hartley

  • You hear the hum of human bees, they smell the honey of Dada's quatrains.

    The Cycle of Spring

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • I am beginning to feel greater respect for Dada's quatrains than before.

    The Cycle of Spring

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • Then there is Dada, to whom duty is the essence of life, not joy.

    The Cycle of Spring

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • If he didn't, he would never have pulled Dada outside his den.

    The Cycle of Spring

    Rabindranath Tagore

British Dictionary definitions for dada


Dadaism (ˈdɑːdɑːˌɪzəm)


a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria
Derived FormsDadaist, noun, adjectiveDadaistic, adjectiveDadaistically, adverb

Word Origin for Dada

C20: from French, from a children's word for hobbyhorse, the name being arbitrarily chosen
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 dada

1920, from French dada "hobbyhorse," child's nonsense word, selected 1916 by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara (1896-1963), leader of the movement, for its resemblance to meaningless babble.

Freedom: DADA DADA DADA, the howl of clashing colors, the intertwining of all contradictions, grotesqueries, trivialities: LIFE. [T. Tzara, "Dada Manifesto," 1918]

Related: Dadaist; Dadaism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper