View synonyms for dance


[ dans, dahns ]

verb (used without object)

, danced, danc·ing.
  1. to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.
  2. to leap, skip, etc., as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly:

    to dance with joy.

    Synonyms: prance, gambol, frolic, caper, cavort

  3. to bob up and down:

    The toy sailboats danced on the pond.

verb (used with object)

, danced, danc·ing.
  1. to perform or take part in (a dance):

    to dance a waltz.

  2. to cause to dance:

    He danced her around the ballroom.

  3. to cause to be in a specified condition by dancing:

    She danced her way to stardom.


  1. a successive group of rhythmical steps or bodily motions, or both, usually executed to music.
  2. an act or round of dancing; set:

    May I have this dance?

  3. the art of dancing:

    to study dance.

  4. a social gathering or party for dancing; ball:

    Was he invited to the dance?

  5. a piece of music suited in rhythm or style to a particular form of dancing:

    He liked the composer's country dances.

  6. Animal Behavior. a stylized pattern of movements performed by an animal, as a bird in courtship display, or an insect, as a honeybee in indicating a source of nectar.
  7. the dance, ballet, interpretive dancing, and other dancing of an artistic nature performed by professional dancers before an audience.


/ dɑːns /


  1. intr to move the feet and body rhythmically, esp in time to music
  2. tr to perform (a particular dance)
  3. intr to skip or leap, as in joy, etc
  4. to move or cause to move in a light rhythmic way
  5. dance attendance on someone
    to attend someone solicitously or obsequiously


  1. a series of rhythmic steps and movements, usually in time to music Terpsichorean
  2. an act of dancing
    1. a social meeting arranged for dancing; ball
    2. ( as modifier )

      a dance hall

  3. a piece of music in the rhythm of a particular dance form, such as a waltz
  4. short for dance music
  5. dancelike movements made by some insects and birds, esp as part of a behaviour pattern
  6. lead someone a dance informal.
    to cause someone continued worry and exasperation; play up
Discover More

Derived Forms

  • ˈdancing, nounadjective
  • ˈdanceable, adjective
  • ˈdancer, noun
Discover More

Other Words From

  • dancing·ly adverb
  • anti·dancing adjective
  • outdance verb (used with object) outdanced outdancing
  • un·dancing adjective
  • well-danced adjective
Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of dance1

First recorded in 1250–1300; (for the verb) Middle English da(u)ncen, from Anglo-French dancer, dauncer, Old French dancier, perhaps from Old High German dansjan, dansōn (unrecorded) “to draw, stretch out, lead to a dance” ( tense 1( def ) ); noun derivative of the verb
Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of dance1

C13: from Old French dancier
Discover More

Idioms and Phrases

  1. dance on air, Slang. to be hanged.
  2. dance to another tune, to change one's behavior, attitudes, etc.
  3. dance attendance. attendance ( def 3 ).

More idioms and phrases containing dance

  • lead a chase (dance)
  • song and dance
Discover More

Example Sentences

This “ordered dance” of electrons could give rise to the fast radio burst by converting the energy of the electrons’ movement into radio waves, Metzger says.

Cycling, high-intensity interval training, yoga, and dance are among the weekly workouts.

From Fortune

Whether your kid likes hip-hop, Zumba, or just bopping around the living room to some Disney tunes, there’s an online dance class that will get them sweating.

Never mind that its primary content is teenage dance videos.

From Fortune

Most viewers never notice the gorilla — even when it stops to do a funny dance.

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is a different sound for you.

Twelve-year-old dance prodigy Maddie Ziegler has suffered the wrath of Dance Moms tyrant Abby Lee Miller.

And with the dance sequence, we wanted something very physical.

“My dance instructor always says she earns most of her income from private teaching,” says Monir.

Even for Arabic dance no one wears a long dress, just a scarf around the hips.

The moon seemed to smile on him; the aurora appeared to dance with unwonted vigour, as if in glee; the very stars winked at him!

Dance-giving mammas were anxious to secure the success of their entertainments by obtaining the presence of "lovely Mrs. Haggard."

Aristide picked it up and began to dance and shake his fist at the invisible police.

The first curtsey I remember receiving, except of course in the stately ceremonies of the dance.

But you, so formed to shine—to eclipse all others—do you never dance, seorita?


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.